(May 8, 2007)
Twenty up-and-coming young skaters, between the ages of nine and 11 years, skated, danced and studied their way through the weekend at Ottawa U’s sports facility while attending the 2007 Skate Canada National Youth Camp, presented by HomeSense.
“The purpose of this camp is to give these skaters something different from what they would normally get back home,” said Skate Canada’s Skating Development Director and well-known coach Louis Stong. “There were very few technical sessions at this camp because that is taken care of by coaches.”
2007 Canadian silver medallist Chris Mabee assisted throughout the weekend contributing his expertise to the success of the camp. His availability and easy to approach attitude was very much appreciated by parents and skaters alike.
The parents and coaches also attended information sessions designed especially for them, so they would know what to expect as their children and or students progressed in the sport.
Camp participants had the opportunity to meet and receive instruction from Anne Schelter, a world renowned specialist in the training of edge control, acting and choreography for figure skaters. Schelter conducted skating skills sessions, as well as a session on theatre, for the participants. Coaches also had the opportunity to benefit from Schelter's knowledge in an off-ice session.
Dr Julia Alleyne, sport medicine physician and Skate Canada’s Chief Medical Advisor, addressed injury and nutrition issues with the skaters and parents.
One of the most popular sessions on the weekend was the Dance Movement class presented by modern dance choreographer Yvonne Coutts and musician Kagiso. This session introduced the skaters to neutral movements, applicable to both boys and girls, to increase their awareness of rhythm and improve their movement quality.
“You have basic rhythm in a musical piece, but if you count you can find another rhythm,” Kagiso told skaters.
Technical skating sessions were also on the agenda. The youngsters worked on their spins with former national team member Norm Proft, and worked on their jumps with Chris Mabee. In another session the athletes also had the chance, with the help of Louis Stong, to analyze and rate Mabee on some of the technical elements he executed such as double Axels and triple loops.
The 2007 Skate Canada National Youth Camp concluded with a banquet at the Delta Hotel downtown Ottawa. Skaters and parents got a chance to talk and take pictures with Chris Mabee and Olympic medallist Debbi Wilkes.
“Getting these skaters together was awesome. I enjoyed the variety of workshops offered. It was an appropriate and applicable selection.” said Randy Hauck, father of skater Kayla from Lethbridge, Alberta. “This youth camp was what I envisioned it would be.”
Skaters gave Olivier Bergeron a standing ovation after he had an on-ice accident on Friday and stopped by the banquet for a few minutes Saturday evening.
More about the 2007 Skate Canada National Youth Camp in the next issue of Above the Crowd on June 1st. Click here to subscribe to Above the Crowd, Skate Canada’s free electronic newsletter.