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Jon Cotton

Jon Cotton

Jon Cotton

‘Older person’ – 63

Favourite discipline:
Swinging Trapeze

Years active at Greentop:
2001 – 2018.  I have been a student, volunteer, and aerial tutor – both freelance and in a voluntary capacity.

Where I am/what I am doing now:
Living in Sheffield, and working in the homeless sector. Riding my bike, and practising and studying the Buddha Dharma.

Favourite joke:
The ‘Inflatable Skool’, where the inflatable teacher says to the inflatable pupil: “Well, you’ve let me down, you’ve let the skool down, and worst of all, you’ve let yourself down”.

Please summarise the impact Greentop has had on your life:
Going to Greentop, and getting involved both as a student and volunteer, has been an immensely positive experience for me; making friends, learning new skills, and boosting my self-confidence.

My circus story:
I began going to Greentop at a time when I was in my 40s and I had no confidence about going on the equipment and doing stuff, but was encouraged to give it a try, and was pleased to find that I could do more than I thought I could. This then encouraged me to go back again, and very quickly I began attending the Thursday evening skillshare, as well as the Monday evening sessions. By going twice a week, I progressed very quickly, from observing others doing impressive stuff on the equipment and thinking ‘Gosh, I’ll never be able to do that’, to being able to do it myself. This gave me great confidence in my ability to be able to learn and do physical upper body stuff that I just didn’t think I was capable of, and it was also great for my self-esteem.

In addition to the enjoyment of learning and being able to do stuff I didn’t think I could do, I met amazing people at Greentop – both the teachers, and fellow students. Over the years, by going to Greentop, it meant that I was incredibly fortunate to meet so many wonderful, interesting, lovely people. I always found Greentop to be a wonderfully positive co-operative learning environment, with everyone so willing to help and support each other. So much so, that Greentop became a major part of my social life. This in turn, enouraged me to get more involved with Greentop, first as a volunteer, which included tutoring, as a way of trying to ensure that Greentop would keep going, so that others could come to Greentop and also have a positive experience, and be encouraged to realise their potential.

For me, going to Greentop was going to a place where I was being challenged both physically and mentally, and the reason that I had such a positive experience and made such good progress, was down to the fact that Greentop was/is such a friendly and co-operative learning environment, with teachers who offered the right amount of encouragement and support, with a sense of humour! Thus it is crucial for people who are being encouraged to test their physical and mental abilities, and go beyond their comfort zone, to receive the necessary support and encouragement, with tutors who are sensitive enough to understand when a person has reached their plateau. My most fun memories are of doing tricks on the trampette, learning to do somersaults and dive rolls onto the crash mats! I suppose my biggest achievement was going up on the swinging trapeze, and becoming reasonably good at it. My fondest memories are of impromptu acrobalance sessions, and working with different people, trying new tricks, and pushing our physical limits.