April 14, 2013
send in the clowns
At most companies, employees don’t get credit for acting like clowns; APS is the exception.
The APS Volunteer Clown Troupe offers employees a unique opportunity to spread smiles and cultivate good will when they volunteer in the community.
For more than 20 years, the volunteer clown troupe has partnered with community organizations like the Salvation Army, 99.9 KEZ radio and sports teams like the Phoenix Suns and Diamondbacks. They participate in parades including the APS Electric Light Parade and Fiesta Bowl Parade, and provide face painting and balloon making at charity walks.
‘There’s no other corporation that understands this kind of giving back to the community,” says head clown Terry Ricketts, Events Manager, Advertising, Sponsorships and Events. “APS sees what we deliver when we go into the community and that’s why we continue to earn their support.”
The clown troupe has built numerous relationships over the years, and “people count on us,” Ricketts says. “Because everybody wants us to participate in their event, our challenge has become deciding which events to do.”
The current clown registry includes approximately 120 employees, retirees, family members and friends. Ricketts says second and even third generations of families are coming up through the ranks. One of his sons and two grandsons are troupe members, an example of the trend.
Clowns must volunteer a minimum of 50 hours a year, including 8 hours of training.
Training involves learning the history of clowning, makeup, costuming, how to create balloon art and do magic tricks.
In addition, workshops throughout the year feature professional clowns from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey who delve into specific topics like face painting, magic or ballooning.
Is there a downside to the clown troupe?
"Well, you do run the risk of having a bunch of clowns represent your company," he says, laughing.