Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DREAMing in Dearborn - Midwest DREAM Camp

Being a DREAM skater has been rewarding in so many ways, but one of my favorite aspects of the program is participating in the DREAM camps during the summer. This year at the DREAM summer camp I was fortunate enough to meet so many young skaters from throughout the Midwest who came to participate in the wonderful programs both on and off the ice.  The camp started off with an opening presentation that included the introduction of DREAM skaters and faculty.  The experience and knowledge of the faculty members was overwhelming, and this opening gave the skaters some background on their coaches for the day.

The day was filled with classes such as edges, elements, musical interpretation, zumba, and yoga.  The skaters learned a lot of new drills and were also able to let loose and explore the musical part of skating.  These athletes were determined to get the most out of the day.  I had fun helping them learn on the ice and dancing alongside them in zumba class. 

The day ended with a group photo and a pizza party!  The room was fully decorated in beach theme, and the skaters participated in the hula hooping and limbo contests.  I made lots of new friends, and I know the skaters did too!  This was a great opportunity for young athletes to make connections outside of their home clubs. 

I grew up skating in the Midwest, so I was thrilled to take a trip back and participate in this camp.  Thank you to the Crystallettes and Dearborn Figure Skating for hosting the event!  It was a productive and entertaining day.  

Also:  Thanks to DREAM alumni Sarah Arnold for the photos!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer with the Haydenettes

The Haydenettes have had a very busy summer! We started preparing for the 2012-2013 season way back in May.  We had a few practices with just the team, then our Elite Camp over Memorial Day weekend.  Elite Camp is very special because all the Haydenettes participate and get to skate next to members of other teams.  The focuses of this camp are basic skating and teamwork.  It is a great way for new members of the Haydenettes to get to know the skating style, and we all bond over our sore bodies!

In June we slowed down, having lots of free time at the beginning of the month.  Those of us who live outside of Boston got to go home and see our families! It was a good break.  At the end of June we had practices where we still worked on basic skating and coming together as a team. During the last week of June all the Haydenettes worked as counselors at the Hayden Synchro Summer Experience.  We all have an awesome time working at this camp.  It is exhausting but very fulfilling for us to get to skate with younger children and hopefully inspire them to keep skating until they are as old as us.  I was Team Leader for Team Italy.  I had a lot of fun trying to teach the little skaters how to count off in Italian, and how to wink.  We had a game going all week to see who could wink at Saga and the other Haydenettes the most.  I definitely enjoyed being silly with them! After that, Haydenettes got the entire month of July off. I went home and stayed with my family and babysat during the day.  Most of my teammates went home to visit with their families or got summer jobs. 

Now, in August, we are back to a regular practice schedule.  The first weekend of the month we all spent together in Waterville Valley, NH working on choreography in our new programs!  We worked hard on the ice together and with Saga to figure out the rule changes and how to best showcase our skills in the new programs.  Outside of the rink we did fun activities such as canoeing on the lake, swimming in the pools, going in the hot tubs, and watching the Olympics!  We also had an awesome surprise Bridal Shower for Saga where we played fun games such as “Make a Wedding Dress out of Toilet Paper!”  It was a great weekend; we all had a lot of fun.
Finally, the Haydenettes participated in our first exhibition of the season at the Tribute to Life ice show in Newington, Connecticut.  We performed an exhibition program to “Canned Heat” which all twenty of us skated in.  It was a great first performance for the team! 

 We are all looking forward to the start of the regular season and school year! - Audrey

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Coaches College/Training Festival Experience

Last week, July 25th-29th, the DREAM team traveled to Delaware to participate in the Coaches College/Training Festival. Last year at this festival, I participated in the event as a coach. However, this year I had the opportunity to be a DREAMer! It was a fun, educational, and rewarding experience.

The first two days of our trip were spent at the Coaches’ College.  We were fortunate enough to be allowed to go to the classes that discussed the new rules and clarifications. This synchronized skating season, I will be skating on the Crystallette senior team as well as being a coach of the Crystallette intermediate and preliminary team.  These classes were extremely helpful in distinguishing exactly what the judges and callers are looking for as a coach and a skater. As a DREAM skater, I was also afforded the privilege of demonstrating for the on ice sessions. I learned a lot of helpful drills that I will bring back and share with my teams. The sessions at Training Festival included:   turns and edges, elements, musical interpretation, freestyle moves and much more.  Focusing on the main elements and step sequences in the program was also helpful because the rules have a tendency to be clarified throughout the season and working/actively doing the elements gives me a better idea of how to explain and complete the element so that each maneuver gets called.

The Coaches College ended Friday afternoon and the Athlete Welcome was scheduled for Friday evening. At the Athlete Welcome, I was asked to give a speech on one of the challenges that I have overcome in my synchronized skating career. After some thinking, I chose to talk about having my mother as a coach. After writing my speech and practicing for hours, I was nervous but felt ready to speak in front of the athletes, parents, and coaches. I believe that the reason I was so nervous  was because I wanted to make a good impression, represent the Crystallettes with dignity and make my mom proud. In my speech, I mainly focused on how having my mom as a coach, was hard because she has always held me to a very high expectations. However, I knew she pushed me so hard because she wanted me to be the best I could be and I would not want it any other way. I love having her as my coach and enjoy making my skating memories right along side of her. Remember, if a coach, mentor or parent are tough on you, it is probably because they see something special in you and want you to succeed.  Sennet and Tessa spoke as well and it was interesting to hear their challenges along with how they overcame them. After a successful and inviting Athlete Welcome, it was time for bed because there was still a long weekend of skating ahead.

 Saturday and Sunday were two of my favorite days out of the whole trip because I got to skate with the different age/level groups in the festival. I thoroughly enjoyed working and demonstrating for the different coaches and all of the athletes attending the festival. The skaters were eager to learn and had great personalities. It was evident that all of the athletes are truly dedicated to this sport. I found that through all of my demonstrating and working with the other coaches that I acquired a ton of helpful knowledge and drills! It was very exciting to see how different all of the top coaches in the country were.  I learned many new drills that they teach their teams. I was happy that I received the opportunity to work with all of those different individuals and I am eager to share all that I have learned with my teammates and the teams I coach.

Another part of the training festival that I liked was choreographing the programs with the coaches. I had the opportunity to help choreograph the Footloose number with Josh Babb and Shannon Peterson (my mom) as well as the Across the Universe number with my mom and Brooke Sloan. Along with helping choreograph those two numbers, the DREAM team had a number to Dream Girls! After two short 50 minute practices, our DREAM program came together and was fun to perform at the exhibition. I particularly enjoyed watching the other groups perform their programs! It was clear that the athletes were having fun performing and skating with their “Festival teammates”. I am very thankful for all of the new friendships that I have made and all the information that I acquired over the weekend.  I cannot wait to see everyone at competitions this year.  Training Festival was a great experience and I am very excited to see what experiences next year’s event will bring!