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“Camp of Champions: Grassroots to Champions Camp a Popular Summer Destination for Skaters”
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating

This summer, hundreds of skaters from clubs all across the country attended skating camps. One of the most popular was the Grassroots to Champions Super Camp (G2C) which has grown enormously over the last few years.

“I had always wanted to produce a training situation where coaches and their skaters from across the U.S. come together to share in a learning process,” said Olympic Coach and G2C founder Audrey Weisiger. “The first camp was held at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. and we had about 50 skaters. This year we were sold out and had 120 skaters.”

Skaters flocked to this summer’s camp to spend a week getting coached by elite skaters and coaches. Weisger was most proud of her guest coaching staff which included Kori Ade, Tom Zakrajsek, Pasquale Carmerlengo, Ryan Bradley, Mirai Nigasu, Jeremy Barrett, Trevor Laak, Nick Perna, Chris Conte, Douglas Webster, Doug Mattis, Sheila Thelen, Madison Hubble and Zachary Donahue.

In addition to the coaches, the camp also featured Caroline Silby, a renowned sports psychologist, Carrie Banner Aprik, a nutritionist, and singer/songwriter Connor Garvey, who helped the skaters express their goals and develops leadership skills.

Shelia Thelen, who has hosted and coached at six G2C Super Camps loves to watch the skaters’ growth as they progress throughout the week.

“We have so many coaches and guest coaches,” she said. “My week is filled with growth and creativity from the little skaters through the World team members. Everyone just loves skating and process of “developing” good skaters. I am honored to be a part of Grassroots to Champions.”

G2C Super camps are held in different locations each year to allow skaters from various regions to participate. Over the years, the camp has taken place in Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts and New York

“Part of the criteria in location selection is proximity to housing, affordability of ice time (2 ice surfaces required) ease of travel and support from the facility and staff,” Weisiger said. “This year we had a wonderful situation in East Lansing at Suburban Ice. The kids boarded at Michigan State University dorms and had fantastic food service.”

What makes the G2C camp so special and unique?

“The camp is all inclusive,” Weisiger said. “All levels work alongside each other so that the highest group is inspiring the less experienced groups. It was very motivating for younger skaters to see elite competitors Jordan Moeller and Hannah Miller train at this year’s camp. There is also a great camaraderie when all the skaters perform together in the group number.”

Thelen believes it is Wesiger’s dedication that makes the camp thrive.

“Her desire to bring together the top coaches and work as a team has created a huge opportunity for these coaches and those striving to become top coaches,” Thelen said. “Her vision for figure skating is fundamental in creating solid basics and skating. The goal of loving skating and dedication to skills and artistry is true leadership. When you bring that much talent and dedication together wonderful things happen.”

Teaming up is the key to creating great skaters. This is about the skaters. The G2C staff uses all of their expertise and knowledge into creating a great learning environment for skaters and guest coaches. Everyone wants to get better.”

For Wesiger, the greatest joy is watching skaters experience a sense of accomplishment.

“We had three new double Axels landed in Lansing,” she said. “ There were cheers and tears of joy from many.”

The 2014 Camp Slogan featured the words “I CAN! I WILL!”

“We coaches have as much fun and experience the same sense of camaraderie as the kids do, “Weisiger said. “ Camp creates lasting friendships and memories we all cherish.”

For more information on the G2C Super Camp and all Grassroots to Champions activities visit their website.

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