by Kari Savoie
Summer is an exciting time for synchronized skaters. Without school or competitions skaters have more time to travel across the country, and even the world, to attend various camps and clinics. Seasoned synchro campers have probably attended several programs. Despite the fact that all camps share many commonalities, such as forming new friendships and improving skating skills, each one has unique qualities. Each camp is a different length, some are residential while some are commuter, and each camp has a different variety of on and off-ice classes and guest coaches. This summer, Haydenettes Elite Camp, NEXXICE International Synchro Camp, Adrian College Bulldog Skating Camp, and Miami Elite Synchronized Skating Experience were popular camps in the synchro community.
Haydenettes Elite Camp
Skaters are drawn from all over the country to the Haydenettes Elite camp for the opportunity to learn from and skate with team members of the most decorated synchronized skating team in United States history. Haydenette Hannah Stodola says that this camp is unique because of it’s on-ice class focus. Stodola feels that Elite Camp is an excellent opportunity for skaters to learn new skating skills, specifically edge and turn technique, and leave the experience a better skater than when they arrived. This year, in addition to learning skating skills, campers had an off-ice session with Coach Maikki Merilehto to learn about her synchro career in Finland. Stodola’s favorite on-ice class was improvisation with Anne Schelter. She taught exercises to the campers that brought out their expression and artistry. Haydenettes Elite Camp is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. Campers stay at a nearby hotel where a lot of afterhour bonding takes place. Stodola loves that bonds made at Elite Camp last throughout the years and across the country.
NEXXICE International Synchro Camp
The 2015 World Synchronized Skating gold medalist team hosted skaters from around the world on July 8, 9, and 10. Campers chose to be residents or commuters for the duration of the three days. Skaters were encouraged to interact with new people during down time through silly games and activities. NEXXICE skater Taylor Walker loved her experience at the camp and feels that it provided a unique opportunity for skaters to get a look into what it is like to skate on the team. Walker’s favorite classes included skating skills and theater classes. She says that NEXXICE regularly utilizes “a lot of unique theater games that help you explore how your body can move in relation to the music and the skaters around you.” Walker believes that the inclusion of these theater classes and emphasis on individual growth are the most unique aspects of the camp. She would recommend NEXXICE camp to any skater looking to skate with amazing athletes and learn from wonderful coaches in the NEXXICE organization.
Adrian College Bulldog Skating Camp
The Adrian College Bulldog Skating Camp, a relatively new summer experience, was held from July 21-23 on the Adrian College campus in Michigan. Camper Margaret Amory from the Crystallettes loved the unique offering of on and off-ice classes. Her favorite was an ice dance class where skaters learned different dance holds and how to work with a partner. Amory also enjoyed the off-ice workout classes, which ranged from agility and plyometrics to pound―a high energy cardio class combining lunges and squats with banging drumsticks on the ground to the beat of the music. She said that “it’s one heck of a workout, but it’s definitely fun!” After each day of learning, campers would return to apartment style suites shared by three or four skaters. All roommate requests were made, but most people only requested one roommate and they were paired with another arranged pair. Amory believes that this living arrangement helped bond people together that might not have talked to one another ordinarily. The most unique feature of the camp was the emphasis placed on bonding the campers throughout their three days in Adrian, Michigan and how that connection translates positively on the ice. Overall, she would recommend the Adrian College Bulldog Skating Camp to any skater looking for a comprehensive review of the basics of synchro and a look into what it is like to skate on and be part of a varsity team in college.
Miami Elite Synchronized Skating Experience
Held in beautiful Oxford, Ohio in July, skaters get the chance to live on Miami University’s picturesque campus for a week and experience what life is like as a varsity synchronized skater. That is exactly what Team Delaware’s Michelle LaFranca views as the defining element to the Miami Elite Synchronized Skating Experience. She was a returning camper this year and loved getting to know the girls staying in the rooms around her. Campers come back year after year due to the bond that they form with the other skaters, as there is something so exciting about interacting with synchro skaters from all across the country that have shared similar experiences. LaFranca’s favorite on ice classes were those related to body alignment and its application to turns. She also enjoyed getting a nice workout through a session of circuit training. In general, the camp focused more on skating with others than individual skills and also presented a nice balance of informative off-ice classes including learning about GOEs and mental training.
Did you attend a synchro summer camp? Tweet us a photo of your experience @GetItCalled and we’ll share it!