IJA eNewsletter – November 2019


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November 2019

Editors: Don Lewis & Martin Frost


  • A message from the IJA Chair
  • IJA Award nominations open
  • Thanksgiving, and all that…
  • Sammie Vance Buddy Bench at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Wayne, IN
  • 73rd Annual IJA Juggling Festival, El Paso, Texas, July 13-19, 2020
  • Latest articles in eJuggle
  • Upcoming juggling festivals


A message from the IJA Chair, by Mike Moore

You’re at a juggling festival, and you see a great workshop.  Excited, you gracefully exit the conversation you were having and find the workshop space, only to see your club member hosting it!  And of course, they do not disappoint.

I’ve seen (and experienced!) this phenomenon over and over again.  It’s so easy to overlook the wealth of skills at practically every juggling club, spread across its members (many or few).  The skills aren’t always obvious: sometimes, cardists, speedcubers, dual staff manipulators, etc., don’t know that their other skills are appreciated at a juggling club.  It’s not just the 7 ball, 5 club juggler who has something to teach their clubmates.

Here’s what I recommend: during club meetings, have some time set aside for a scheduled workshop.  These can be on anything.  I think you’ll be surprised at the skills the bubble up to the surface, then spread among smiling participants.  It adds novelty to the meetings, everyone learns new skills, and workshop leaders improve their pedagogy.  In our club, it even attracted back some local members who hadn’t visited in years.

Happy juggling, and let me know how it goes!  Email me at moore@juggle.org.

Mike Moore
IJA Chair

IJA Award nominations open

Please think about who you would like to nominate

for an honorary IJA award to be presented at the IJA Festival next summer. Past award recipients have often said how meaningful the awards have been to them, so is there someone you believe should be honored next?  [At right: Presentation of the 2017 IJA Extraordinary Service Award to David Landowne]

Our website lists all the previous IJA award honorees. https://juggle.org/history/honorary-awards/

Nominations are open for the following IJA awards:

In recognition of excellence in the art of juggling through professional performance.

In recognition of a lifetime of influential work and extraordinary achievement in juggling performance.

In recognition of years of coaching and mentoring jugglers to help create and improve their acts.

In recognition of a consistent commitment to provide outstanding support and promotion for the field of juggling.

In recognition of outstanding efforts to teach juggling to non-jugglers and expand the knowledge of those who already juggle.

In recognition for providing exceptional promotion to the public of the art of juggling.

Please submit nominations to awards@juggle.org by December 5th.

Thanksgiving, and all that…, by Don Lewis

It is that time of year again, with Thanksgiving (in the USA), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.  The whole idea of Black Friday seems to have been enthusiastically adopted around the world.  Now I’ve written year after year that it is a good thing to consider a bit of giving after the orgy of getting during the sales.  It is still a good thing to do.  The IJA has projects that can benefit from your financial support, as well as any spare time that you might want to devote to a project.  To some extent, the IJA might be able to help you get support for your own juggling related projects.  

This is the time of year when people try to finalize their tax strategies for the year, and charitable donations are a part of that.  Donations to the IJA can qualify for tax deductions or credits. Most jugglers laugh at the idea of estate planning since they think of that as only for the super rich.  Even jugglers don’t live forever.  You should think about what you want to happen to your stuff.  Do you want your props donated to a juggling club, or just tossed in the trash?  You probably have more assets than you think you do and you should have a plan for what happens after you take up celestial juggling.  One way of reducing the tax burden on your estate is to give some things or money to charity.  If you haven’t registered a simple will somewhere, your assets may be seized by the State, which probably wouldn’t be your first choice.  Have a plan, and review it at least yearly.  Pretty much anywhere you live will have free basic legal advice available for do-it-yourself estates that you can take advantage of.  If the idea of death and its consequences makes you too squeamish to even think about it, the local tax authority will be glad to confiscate anything they can.  That idea alone should make you eager to put a basic will together.  If the IJA has been a good part of your life, then consider including the IJA as part of your estate planning.

IJA Sammie Vance Buddy Bench at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Wayne, IN
by Bill Barr and Sammie and Heidi Vance

During the week before Thanksgiving, the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne, IN, joyously

installed a beautiful new IJA Sammie’s Buddy Bench right in the entrance to their fantastic facility. Jugglers from the IJA, Sammie and the Vance Family, who are also IJA members, and the people of the B&G Club all cooperated to make this possible. Everyone in the IJA can be proud of our contribution to the community that hosted the 2019 Festival. 

This June Sammie was the first recipient of the IJA Sammie Vance Youth Civic Achievement Award. At 8 years old, she heard of Buddy Benches, to encourage people to have a way to initiate friendships, and succeeded in having two such benches made of recycled plastic bottle caps placed in her school. By the time she was 10, she and her family had spearheaded the drive to place over one hundred benches across America and world wide. In doing so she received corporate support and international attention for her determination to make a positive difference.

During the Festival, Sammie spoke at the Welcome Show and also during the IJA Benefit Show at the B&G Club. Sammie says that “being a part of the IJA Benefit Show and convention was one of the best experiences of my whole year.”  Her mother Heidi was very impressed with what a warm welcome the jugglers provided for her whole family.  The IJA Benefit Show community of civic minded performers does a show every year, and so far we have performed at 8 Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. We have participated in ways to extend our influence by teaching kids and staff, providing commemorative coins, and giving the opportunity for some members to attend our public shows. 

This year, with the contributions of three Past Presidents, Tom Dewart and Tommy Curtin (the Tommies as Heidi calls them), and Bill Barr, and the kind support of the IJA Board, we have donated an IJA Sammie’s Buddy Bench. The center slat is inscribed with, IJA Benefit Show 2019 and two IJA logos. Here are pictures of the bench with Sammie and some of her new friends at the club. Sammie is excited that, “they are training the kids how to use it” and says that ” the Buddy bench looked so good and the kids were so happy to see it. Made me feel really good to have played a part in making this happen. I couldn’t stop smiling.” She reminds all of us that we all can MAKE A DIFFERENCE and that “if you can Dream it you can Do It.”

Heidi shared that “Sammie loves inspiring others, meeting new people and accomplishing goals. Seeing the buddy bench made of recycled bottle caps at the Boys and Girls Club was a great moment. Reading what was etched and Sammie seeing it for the first time brought happy tears.” Sammie and Heidi co-lead a workshop in June on ways we can continue to have juggling inspire others. We all would like to keep this going. In July of 2020 the IJA Benefit show is scheduled to take place at the Boys and Girls Club of El Paso, Texas. We were there in 2016. It would be wonderful if we could give them an IJA Sammie’s Buddy Bench too. With the competent guidance of Mike Sullivan and the Board, we know where we intend to have our Festival for some time, and these places have Boys and Girls Clubs. Anyone wanting to make a contribution may contact Bill Barr at williamabarr@gmail.com.

Sammie wrote a poem:

I believe it all starts with you
I hope that you begin to believe it too
Let’s Keep it Going and Make a Difference.

Sammie and Heidi say, “Thank you IJA for making this dream a reality and helping spread Sammie’s Buddy Benches. Thank you for funding this bench as it will make such a difference in our community.” Those of us in the International Jugglers’ Association have long known the power of juggling to bring people together and spread happiness. What could be more important. Sammie, Heidi, and the whole Vance family are turning their dream into the reality of positive action. The Boys and Girls Clubs daily assist youth in growing. This is a strong partnership. Look what we can do working together.

73rd Annual IJA Juggling Festival

El Paso, Texas, July 13-19, 2020

Next year’s IJA festival will be returning to the popular and convenient venues of the 2016 IJA fest in El Paso, TX, where things have been spruced up to be even better. More info will be available by early 2020. Save the dates: July 13-19, 2020.


Latest articles in eJuggle

Upcoming juggling festivals

Below is a list of some upcoming juggling festivals.  For a list of even more fests, check our worldwide juggling event listings.

To get a festival listed here for free, just drop a note to us at ijanews@juggle.org.  Hey, jugglers want to know about juggling fests.  Help them out and get more jugglers to your fest at the same time.

Richmond Juggling Festival 2019
13 Dec – 15 Dec 2019
Richmond Waldorf School, 1301 Robin Hood Road, Richmond, Virginia 23227, USA

Brno Juggling Convention 2019/2020
29 Dec 2019 – 1 Jan 2020
University campus, Brno, Czech Republic

French Juggling Convention, Glühwein 2020
29 Dec 2019 – 3 Jan 2020
rue Kembs – 68440 Habsheim, France

47th Annual Madfest ( 2020 )
17 Jan – 19 Jan 2020
Madison, WI, USA

Game of Throws – A Juggling and Flow Festival 2020
24 Jan – 26 Jan 2020
Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA USA

42nd Annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival
7 Feb – 9 Feb 2020
Yaarab Shrine Center Recreation Building, 400 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308 USA

Minnesota Mondo Juggling & Unicycle Festival
14 Feb – 16 Feb 2020
235 Hamline Avenue South, St. Paul, Minnesota USA

43rd European Juggling Convention (EJC)
11 Jul – 19 Jul 2020
Hangö Högstadium, Koulukatu 13-15, 10900 Hanko, Finland

73rd Annual IJA Juggling Festival
13 Jul – 19 Jul 2020
El Paso Convention Center, El Paso, TX USA



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