More than 250 Winnipeg kids are spending their spring break running off with the circus – sort of.

The annual circus camp at Gordon Bell High School in Winnipeg’s downtown is underway, teaching kids everything from  tight-rope walking to swinging from a trapeze to how to ride a unicycle.

Circus camp

A Winnipeg high-school student named Savana tries her hand at a suspended hula-hoop at Gordon Bell High School's annual circus camp. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

The spring break program run by the Circus and Magic Partnership aims to build the confidence and skill set of inner-city youth.  

All week, the students practice and then put on a performance for family and friends.

The program isn't new. Peter Boulanger, the owner of Vancouver’s Underground Circus, has come to Winnipeg for the last 16 years to teach kids the tricks of the circus trade.

 “You see their confidence building because they’re doing tricks,” said Boulanger. “All of a sudden they’re like, ‘Wow! I can do this stuff!’”

Boulanger said the lessons learned during spring break are aimed at boosting confidence and curiosity throughout the school year.

“They help organize each other. We really encourage that, so it helps with their leadership skills. It’s a great program,” he said.