By Taylor Dean
Last summer, U.S. Figure Skating launched the Aspire Program, an enhanced version of its bridge program, to provide opportunities for beginning figure skaters and their families to learn more about the sport. Aspire is open to skaters of all ages, and several programs have introduced classes for adult skaters looking for opportunities to figure skate.
Jill Stewart, skating director at Chilled Ponds in Chesapeake, Virginia, admires her adult skaters’ enthusiasm with Aspire. The Aspire edge class her program introduced in September for adults between Adult 4 and Adult 6 levels of Learn to Skate USA included six skaters, with the oldest just turning 70 years old.
“We started off with edge work, edges on a circle, and grew to doing pivots and two-foot spins,” Stewart said. “They love it — they all look forward to it. Adults like to skate socially and Aspire is perfect for them.”
Like Chilled Ponds, Hershey FSC in Pennsylvania found an opportunity for adults to transition into figure skating using Aspire resources. A few years ago, the club created an “Adult Fun and Fitness” class, which featured 45 minutes of yoga before skating. Now, the class incorporates Aspire Program elements to inspire skaters to reach for new goals in the sport of figure skating.
“We have a broad range of skaters from those in their 20s to the 70s,” Hershey FSC President Audrie Schaller said. “They enjoy the camaraderie of the program.”
The U.S. Figure Skating Aspire Program offers on- and off-ice resources for skaters as well as parent education components. Clubs and programs can adapt the skater resources to fit the needs of their adult skaters. Daniel Palmeri, skating director of Suburban Skating School in Michigan, helped create resources for program directors and participants to use.
“One message that the Aspire program carries is that skating is truly for everyone and you don’t have to start at 3 years old to find success on the ice,” Palmeri said. “Whether new to the ice or a longtime participant, we aim to remind adults that it’s never too late to get started on a new path to success. U.S. Figure Skating’s adult skating program offers various opportunities to participate in the sport of figure skating, and our Aspire resources will help engage and inform while welcoming them with open arms.”
Program directors and coaches can use the Suggested Group Divisions and Camp Models resources to help them create the best experience possible for their adult skaters. Adult skating-specific resources available to Aspire Program participants include:
- All About Adult Competitions
- All About Adult Training Camps
- All About Adult Skating Programs
To learn more about starting an Aspire Program, visit usfigureskating.org/aspire.