As the summer comes to a close I could not feel more grateful for the experiences I had over the past couple of months. I took on some new endeavours and found myself in places I didn’t expect. Some of these undertakings include coaching hockey players with the Power Skating Academy, teaching off-ice yoga at GTSA, and working with Flexafit—leading Figure Skater Bootcamp classes as well as marketing and writing for Figure Skater Fitness Magazine. All of these things have helped me develop both personally and professionally in more ways than I can explain. Although it's practically impossible to pick a favourite, there is one particular week, unmentioned above, at the end of my summer that stands out: my week coaching with the figure skating team at Olympia Sports Camp.
If you haven’t heard of Olympia Sports Camp I urge you to check it out, make room in your calendar for the skating week next summer and join!
Each week at Olympia the campers are led through their chosen sport’s program while at the same time navigating their way through the concepts of Joseph Campbell’s A Hero’s Journey. This journey dares athletes to greatness with a ‘call to adventure’ – stepping out of their comfort zone, challenging pre-conceived limitations, and becoming the hero of their own story. It really couldn’t be more ‘up my ally’; this is exactly what Skate to Soar goal coaching is all about. I felt completely elated at the opportunity of joining the incredible force of this camp with such an enormous impact on so many young athletes. And the experience, as a coach, was better than I could’ve imagined.
I worked alongside the best team of figure skating coaches and we each had unique strengths to offer our skaters. I was able to start the week off delivering a vision board activity to stimulate the practice of goal setting and mental training. Vision boarding is one of my favourite goal setting tools! (read more on vision boards here). The boards that these skaters created were nothing short of astonishing, both in aesthetic and in meaning. When the girls shared why they chose the collection of images on their boards, I was left feeling utterly inspired by their ambitions and their self-awareness.
The second morning after the usual warm-up run around camp and off-ice jump class, I led the skaters through a yoga class. As a long-time yogi, the teaching side of it is relatively new for me and although I’ve been advised many times in the past to become a yoga instructor, I had always been a little reluctant. I guess you could say it was out of my comfort zone! The response from the skaters and coaches who participated in the class was overwhelmingly positive and just filled my heart right up to the brim. We decided to continue with yoga every morning for the rest of the week. And everyday the class grew a little bigger as more coaches and campers joined in. The experience was amazing. Yoga has so many benefits for all athletes including mindful breathing, meditation, recovery, body awareness, and so much more. I loved instructing it! Not to mention the backdrop for our class was the sparkling waters of the lake under a lush tree lining in the distance with the morning sun pouring down on us. #icanteven
The skaters were on the ice for three hours a day with time spent on power stroking, jumps, spins, edges, turns, and creative movement. These girls worked so hard throughout the week and numerous skaters landed new jumps and acquired new skills for the first time! The skaters never dropped their energy and drive throughout the entire week. Of course, there’s also always mega fun involved at camp. On the last day the skaters paired off to perform their own choreographed duets, which turned out to be outrageously amusing!
*The coaches. AKA Partners in crime! (we're missing David, the skating director in this pic).
Each night after dinner the campers participated in activities such as “the blob”—a big pillow-like inflated object in the lake where one camper sits on the edge waiting to be flung into the air after a counselor jumps on the other end! There’s also a zip line, a high swing, high ropes, archery, crafts (we made gorgeous flower headbands), and way more. And it wasn’t only the skaters that joined these events; the coaches did too :)
This post doesn’t even really touch the surface of what Olympia has to offer its campers; I could go on for days. The camp counselors we had for the figure skating team, for example, could fill an entire blog post on their own with their brilliant ways of keeping the campers motivated, smiling, and cared for. The coaches I worked alongside were so inspiring, so knowledgeable in so many areas of the sport, and so incredibly amazing to spend time with! And I haven’t even mentioned Dave Grace yet, the founder and director of the camp, at 74 years old has no plans to retire from Olympia any time soon! If that doesn’t give you an idea of how meaningful and impactful this camp is then I don’t know what will.
If you’re looking to skate in a great summer program, push past your limits, and build lasting friendships,join the team at Olympia Sports Camp next summer!
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