Jen Dodds: Five reasons why I give Deaf camping festival Sign Circle the thumbs up! (BSL)

Posted on August 22, 2014

To see this article in BSL, signed by Jen, just click here or scroll down the page!

The last Sign Circle festival may have been last month, but I’m still buzzing from its positivity.

In fact, here are five reasons why I give Sign Circle the thumbs up (in no particular order)…

1. Camping!

Camping gets a giant thumbs up from me. I love going ‘back to basics’ and sleeping in a tent – you can really switch off and it’s a great way to avoid evil gadgets and television.

Plus, it’s good to go communal and share stuff like tea and coffee with your fellow campers. You feel well and truly grateful when you’ve run out of coffee and someone makes your morning cuppa for you!

2. Magic Hands!

When I asked my five year old son what he liked best about Sign Circle, “Magic Hands!” he answered straight away; “I like it! I really enjoyed the workshop.” Thumbs up.

3. People!

I was reminded of going to Blackpool Rally in my youth, constantly passing loads of Deaf people in the streets of Blackpool.

Sign Circle is like that, except Deaf people (and hearing signers are everywhere you look. It’s like a condensed version of Blackpool, making it easy for you to talk to everyone and catch up on news.

That gets… a thumbs up!

4. Improv comedy!

As a northerner, I don’t get much chance to see Deaf theatre and comedy, and when Deaf stuff is actually on up north, it’s often too far away for me to travel to.

So, of course I jumped at the chance to see Deaf comedy performances at Sign Circle. I’d never seen improv comedy before, although I knew it’s based on the performers quickly making stuff up on the spot after being given ideas.

I was gobsmacked by how funny it was. I cried actual tears of laughter. That was proper quality stuff!
(And please come back up north again! I need to get out more!)

5. The volunteers!

The biggest stars of Sign Circle, I think, were the volunteers. Sign Circle would be nothing without its brilliant team of hardworking guys who held it all together.

It hit me at the end, when I was loading my stuff into the car – I looked around and saw that the volunteers were still working hard at their tasks, entertaining children, cleaning up and sorting piles of recycling out. All without a complaint.

So, a big thank you and thumbs up goes to them.

See you there next time!

Jen Dodds is a Contributing Editor for The Limping Chicken. When she’s not looking after chickens or children, Jen can be found translating, proofreading and editing stuff over at Team HaDo Ltd ( On Twitter, Jen is @deafpower.

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