Monday, August 18, 2008

Figure skating camp: the long drive Up North

I have the warm, drowsy feeling of a mom who drove four hours up to Winners’ Edge Figure Skating camp in Spooner, Wis. and also drove four hours back. I’m tired. Ice Grandma came on the trip, too, because there’s no way I could drive eight hours by myself – especially at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping, not driving.

Ice Grandma was pretty worried about leaving Ice Girl, 12, alone at a camp full of strangers. Ice Girl didn’t sign up for camp with a bunch of folks, like the nine or so girls and adults from Traverse City, Mich. did. Ice Girl just went by herself. She’s the kind of kid who can make friends anywhere, though, so she didn’t seem intimidated by the idea of being there solo. In fact, she had her bag packed and ready – a week ago.

At 5 p.m. we checked Ice Girl in and saw the dorms. They’re shabby, but clean with new mattresses. The guy in charge seems normal and the coaches seem professional, credentialed, and accessible.

Ice Girl received her jam-packed schedule and vowed to get up at 6 a.m. to walk the track and warm up every morning. She can only use her cell phone in the dorm at night, so I’m not sure how that idea went.

Sixty girls are at the camp from the upper Midwest (Minn., Mich., Wis., Ill., and N. Dakota). The coaches split the girls into ability groups last night and will work the campers’ legs off until Wednesday night.

Here are the classes she’ll be taking:
Off-ice: conditioning, rotation/balance, jumping exercises, grooming, goal setting, international judging system, costuming, conditioning, Pilates, flexibility/stretching, theater, and plyometrics
On-ice: spins, turns/footwork, jumps, exercises, stroking, edges/power, artistry and presentation, spirals, choreography, and balance stroking

Ice Grandma and I watched Ice Girl skate last night for an hour and returned home at 1 a.m. this morning. I’m tired, but happy that Ice Girl is having such a great experience. Ice Dad is going to make the eight-hour trip by himself on Wednesday.

I get to stay home Wed. to work and then let the dog out. Yeah. Dog surprises at 1 a.m. are not pleasant. I thought Ice Dog could make it for 12 hours on his own, but I think he got worried as the night grew late and he just couldn’t last. Poor Ice Dog.

I want this post to be useful, so here's what I learned:

1. Some parents took off work for four days and are staying in a hotel to watch their kids
2. Some parents brought their kid, plus some of their kids' friends
3. Some parents stay in their nearby cabins while their kids skate
4. Some coaches accompany their students to camp. This might be obvious to you who have been in figure skating for a long time, but it was news to me!
5. Very few girls (I didn't meet any) go stag to a camp like this. Ice Girl will be fine, don't worry.

I also learned not to whine so much about my ice time. I met a gal from Mich. whose rink closes in the summer because there's no hockey. Her kids skate an hour away three times a week in the summer. This is not uncommon. A gal from the Milw. area also said that her rink closes from May through September and she has to cart her daughter all over to find ice. One gal from Wis. takes her daughter to Minn. on the weekends to skate.

Trekking all over Dane County from the many rinks that offer summer ice now seems like small potatoes, indeed. I promise not to whine so much. Really. Unless Ice Dog leaves me a gift. *sigh*


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great experience, and I'm impressed that she is going it alone. It will be an even better confidence-booster that way though since she'll make friends on her own and get to show you what she learns when she comes back! Good luck to her!

Aaron said...

Here's an idea...tell Ice Dad to take Ice Dog with him on Wednesday...Ice Girl will be happy to see Ice Dog and Ice Mom can get some much needed rest!

Ice Mom said...

Smart idea, Aaron! Ice Dad and I talked about it, but Ice Dog gets, um, car sick. Despite his body functions, Ice Dog is very sweet. Ice Dad, too! :)

Anonymous said...

Ice Mom she is in good hands. We went to the June camp. I did not leave DD alone as she is only 7, but she loved it and did it as a loner. We have 2 other girls from our club there this time as first time away from home campers. Just wait untill you see the progress:-)

Ice Mom said...

Hi, Up North! Yep. Ice Girl actually put a Hodag on the phone last night (for everyone else - the Hodag is the Rhinelander mascot). I think Ice Girl is making great friends!

Thanks for the reassurance!