Our Founder and Director Emeritus

Saturday morning parade practice (02)

Mr. Cahill and his 2014 Columbus Day Parade troupe (Photo courtesy Rich Obrey)

Jon Cahill started the Gym Dandies in 1981 with ten enthusiastic fifth and sixth graders and a box full of tennis balls. At that time, Mr. Cahill  recognized that there were numerous benefits that could be realized by the children as a result of participating in this challenging and exciting endeavor, and that circus arts had the potential to be much more than just an alternate activity in the physical education curriculum. His vision continues today, unchanged, as he leads even more enthusiastic boys and girls from third through twelfth grades in what is now a premier and nationally recognized parade unit and performance group. And his message to the kids is the same as well:

“You can do anything with practice!”

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • 2011 — Winner of the Maine Fitness Award — Lifetime Achievement Category from the Governor’s Council on Physical Activity
  • 2004 — Maine DARE Officers Association – Educator of the Year
  • Elementary Physical Education Teacher – 32 years (Retired 2004)
  • 2000 to 2003 — President: Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
  • 2000 — Winner of the Maine Governor’s Council – Contest for Communities Award: A competitive award presented by the Governor’s Council recognizing individuals/programs that break new ground in physical activity programming for youth
  • 1996 — Maine Physical Education Teacher of the Year
  • 1990 — Nominated for National Education Association A+ Award for Excellence in Education
  • Founder and Director of “The Gym Dandies” Children’s Circus Arts Program, the largest continuously operating children’s circus in the United States (Co-curricular program, Scarborough School Department, Scarborough, ME)

Featured performances by the Gym Dandies:

  • 2014 First unicycle group to perform in the Columbus Day Parade, New York City
  • 2013 Represented the State of Maine in 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade, Washington DC
  • 2012 100th Anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, Washington DC
  • 2011 Philadelphia, PA Independence Day Parade
  • 2010 Rockland, Maine Lobster Festival Parade (Winner of the Peoples Choice Award)
  • 2009 West Virginia Strawberry Festival Parade (Winner of Specialty Unit Competition)
  • 2008 Parade of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C.
  • 2006 National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C.
  • 2005 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, New York
  • 2002 Montreal Cycling Festival in Montreal, Quebec
  • 2000 and 2004 National Independence Day Parades in Washington D.C.

Education:

  • MS Adult Education, Recreation and Leisure Management University of Southern Maine
  • M Ed. University of South Carolina
  • BS Ed. University of Georgia