Clowning Around Coney Island

Brooklyn’s Coney Island has been on unsteady ground with sales and collapsed sales and re-buying offers—it seemed for a while that the nostalgic summer funland was done once and for all, but this weekend, Coney Island, now re-branded as Luna Park, is re-opening for the holiday and summertime.

A big part of any old school amusement park is clowning–freaky to some–it is such a short trip from happy clown to scary clown–clowning is, at its roots, all about fun and laughter.

Here are but a couple of clown-connected volunteer opportunities, if you’re feeling red-nosey.

Patch Adams was yukked up on screen by Robin Williams in the eponymous movie, and the story is based on a real doctor who sees laughter as the best medicine. The Patch Adams Gesundheit! Institute in Pocahontas County, West Virginia uses volunteers who work 35 hours a week helping build clinic space and other support construction as well as take clown workshops and work with kids. You’ll have to take your laughter seriously, but won’t empty your pockets as there is no charge for room and board beyond your hard work.

In Rio de Janeiro you can work for a 2-week stint with Volunteer Abroad and teach Circus Arts to troubled and at-risk youth to help in self-expression and creative outlets for tie and energies.

Obviously one of the most recognized clowns works for that fast food company with the golden arches. What you may not know is the absolutely phenomenal work being done by the charitable arm of that burger biz, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. This astounding camp in the foothills of California is completely devoted to kids with cancer. Volunteer camp counselors make a 9-day commitment for a 7-day camp session (2 days of training) and you can be part of this life-changing experience.

amusement park camp/cancer kids

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