In the fall of 1995 Matt Wilson (soon-to-be founder of BFF) felt drawn to the group of jugglers in front of Rockefeller Hall. They met weekly on Fridays and practiced new tricks and stunts, although not officially a club, they would perform unofficially at Founders Day and at parties here on campus. On October 13, 1996, the group of individuals soon became known as the Vassar Jugglers, officially recognized as a club by the VSA.
The original name Barefoot Monkeys was soon adopted from the idea of the prehensile limbs of these creatures and the feeling of juggling barefoot. Gaining many new members in the upcoming years the group continued to perform at events on campus, and even traveled to New York City to train at NYU with Hovey Burgess, a circus educator. At the beginning of the club’s commencement most of their equipment was stored in Matt’s room, and some of their meetings would be shut down by security for use of fire. This was soon fixed by the college director, Jeff Horst, who established protocol of fire usage here on Vassar campus. With this new skill, they were able to practice without fear of being shut down, so the Barefoot Monkeys (now Barefoot Fireflies) were able to practice and perform shows on fire for the campus community. As time went on the club grew, expanding practices to two times per week and making their fire show a must-see every year.