Skating Makes Bonding Friendships

Besides the many health benefits of skating which I endlessly point out to my skaters and parents (pls see https://www.figureskatingetc.com/miscell2/2019/2/4/skating-promotes-fitness-and-good-health), I feel another important benefit of skating is social skills and development. Skating is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. If you visit a public open skate session, you never fail to see adults and children skating around laughing and having fun together. Those who attend group classes or camp are participating among a community of individuals who all share the same passion and with this common interest, many end up building lifelong friendships that extend beyond the rink.

Today was my last day volunteering at Figure Skating in Harlem. During my short time with the club, I had an incredibly rewarding experience and made so many new wonderful friends. In particular, Leah, a 9-yr old girl in my group class, quickly bonded with me. She was fascinated by my Asian eyes and hair and how young I was to be a skating instructor. She loved asking questions and learning about my background- where I lived, how many siblings I had, and if I had a boyfriend/girlfriend. She’s so funny and made me laugh so hard at times. She was always the first one to greet me on the ice and was so happy when I remembered her name. I will miss Leah and all my summer campers. While I’m sad that I won’t be able to see and continue working with these wonderful young children during the school year, I look forward to my time with them next summer and excited to making many more new friendships. I hope I made a small difference in some of the kids’ lives as they have enriched mine in so many ways.

Check out my friends’ Summer Dreams Camp video - https://www.facebook.com/FigureSkatinginHarlem/videos/2192064950922012/Asia

MY SUMMER DREAMS CAMP FAMILY  Figure Skating in Harlem

MY SUMMER DREAMS CAMP FAMILY
Figure Skating in Harlem

Why Compete?

camryn.jpeg

CONGRATS to my fellow skater,
CAMRYN APRILANTE,
for competing at the inaugural
National Festival Excel Series Final!
Read all about her amazing national skating experience on my peer blog page, https://www.figureskatingetc.com/peers-blog-4
_______________________________

Several of my students and their parents have inquired about skating competitions and whether or not their child is ready for such a feat. Personally, I feel competitions are not only a valuable learning experience, but also a great opportunity to demonstrate one’s skills and talents. Competitors receive the opportunity to challenge themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone and working hard to achieve their goals. In striving to improve with each performance, skaters gain self-esteem and confidence. Healthy competition not only teaches skaters respect for themselves, it also instills a sense of community and good sportsmanship.

Not all kids are ready for competitive sports so participants vary depending on the individual. I strongly advise against pushing skaters to compete unless he/she has expressed a clear interest. The skater should also be capable of handling the pressure of an audience and the impact of winning/losing. We must always remember to keep the experience fun and positive for the skater.

I recall my first skating competition when I was seven years old. I absolutely loved the spotlight and was obsessed with all the makeup and sparkles. My Basic Skills Level 4 program was only about a minute long, but I relished each second on the ice.

I highly recommend the Compete USA event program which is an entry-level skating competition specifically designed for the Learn to Skate USA student. It provides a fun and positive introduction to the world of competitive skating. The program is open to beginner skaters of all ages and skill levels who are either members of US Figure skating and/or Learn to Skate. Every skater receives an award as there are no more than six competitors per group.

The first annual Excel National Festival was held in Coral Springs, Florida from June 7-9. This offered an open invitation for any Learn to Skate member in Compete USA (from Snowplow Sam through FreeSkate 6). As there are no qualification requirements, I hope many of my students and parents will consider attending this national skating celebration event next year. It is incredibly valuable for beginner skaters to not only experience a national competition, but to also meet other skaters their age from around the country. The event also offers off-ice movement classes, team building activities, and a meet-and-greet with Team USA skaters. 

My fellow skating club member, Camryn Aprilante, qualified to compete in the Excel Series Final at the National Festival. The Excel Series was specifically developed to inspire skaters to remain committed to the sport of figure skating by providing a competitive structure to showcase their skills. The top six skaters from each section in the Series receive an invitation to participate in the Excel Finalist Camp and compete in the Excel Series Final at the National Festival.

For more information about Compete USA and local competition events, please check out https://learntoskateusa.com/eventsinyourarea/?source=post_page---------------------------





Making a Difference

As you know, skating is an expensive sport - ice time, coach fees, quality equipment, music, costumes, travel expenses, and skates all add up. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in skating and want to continue to impart my knowledge to not only new skaters and parents, but also to those need additional support and resources. I enjoy dedicating my time to volunteering as it provides me much fulfillment and allows me to inspire a new generation of skaters. I also get to make new friends with so many interesting people from different cultures and backgrounds. Through my teaching, I strive to provide my students encouragement and emotional support, empowering them to develop their courage and self-confidence.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be volunteering at Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) this summer. FSH offers a 6-week Summer Dreams Camp starting July 8 through August 15. Now that I can finally drive, I will be able to travel to the Ice Hutch rink in Mt Vernon, NY to to teach the Learn-to-Skate program to young girls.

I first heard about FSH when I came across a video clip posted by On Ice Perspectives on the Learn-to-Skate USA Facebook page. After watching a performance by some FSH members, I was intrigued to learn more about them. Similar to my involvement with Girl Scouts, FSH fosters a sisterhood by providing opportunities for young women to work and learn together, building their self-esteem and confidence. These girls are taught the necessary skills to help them achieve their dreams and become future leaders.

Yesterday was my first day at FSH and I plan to volunteer every Thursday during the summer. There were over 85 young girls who were all so eager to get started on the ice and learn new skills. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all of the girls already had some basic skating knowledge as they skated over to me with ease. My group of 11 girls practiced forward crossovers, snowplow stops, lunges, and one foot glides. We then incorporated all these elements into a fun and interactive performance to the song, “Girl on Fire.”

FSH was founded in 1997 by Sharon Cohen who wanted to provide a skating education program for young women of Harlem. She wanted to offer a fun and safe environment for these girls to come together after school and further learn and work together. This non-profit organization offers after school academic enrichment and support along with group fitness classes and skating instruction which align with the USFS Learn to Skate USA program.

I look forward to making many new friends and a difference in these young girls’ lives.

Why Summer is THE Best Time to Learn to Skate

To all of the many happy and excited kids out there as another school year comes to an end, YIPPIE!  Now that summer is upon us, I strongly encourage you to use your extra 'free' time wisely and consider signing up for skating classes! For those of you who don't know how to skate; well, this is the best time to start and learn. For those of you who have already been a part of the Learn-to-Skate (LTS) program and know how to skate, I encourage you to keep up the hard work and use this summer to continue mastering and improving your skills.

As you may imagine, the skating rink is the least popular during these warmer months but that's the #1 reason to get to the rink and skate! The LTS program at your local rink runs all year round. The summer learn-to-skate classes are generally small- I have only three skaters in my current basic skills classes whereas my fall and spring classes average seven to ten skaters and winter classes average over ten skaters.  By enrolling in a summer skating program, you will receive much more individualized attention from your coach and also have more ice to practice and less students who will get in your way. Also, skating instructors and coaches are more available and offer more time to teach because many of their current students are on vacation and/or have other summer commitments. Although skating is typically a winter activity, learning to skate in the summer is a great way to stay cool in the sweltering heat and humidity.

Why Attend a Local Skating Competition?

For those who are not quite ready to perform in front of an audience, observing a local competition is a great way to gain insight into the competitive world of figure skating and see different skating disciplines- freestyle, dance, and pairs, and also different levels- basic skills to free skate to well balanced preliminary through senior programs. Young skaters will be inspired as they watch kids of similar age gracefully skating to the music and performing impressive mid-air jumps, flying leaps, and astonishing fast spins. I often catch young skaters mesmerized and oohing and ahhhing over the performers. They especially are dazzled by the beautiful costumes adorned with Swarovski crystals and sequins. Having the opportunity to watch a skating competition provides young skaters encouragement to go out there and show off their skills and talents and join the excitement of shining on the ice. I always try to encourage and convince my students to attend a competition and/or even come see me compete as I could always use the extra support.

One of the largest and most attended skating competition in NJ is the Garden State Games Figure Skating Championship. This competition is the qualifying event for the National State Games of America Championships. Sponsored by the North Jersey Figure Skating Club, the Garden State Games is a two-day event held on June 14-15 at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, NJ. The competition will include basic skills, freestyle, solo dance pattern, showcase, and compulsory spin and jump events. I was told it will be a huge turnout as there were over 375 skaters registered to compete.

Girl Scouts Creates Leaders in Skating

Did you know Dorothy Hamill, 1976 Winter Olympic gold medalist, was a Girl Scout?

I was incredibly honored to serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies in this year’s Girl Scouts Gold Award Ceremony on Wed, May 29th. The Gold Award, the highest distinction earned by only 5.4% of eligible girl scouts, recognizes young women who demonstrate exceptional leadership in carrying out a community project with a sustained and measurable impact. Only one year ago, I was eagerly waiting to receive my Gold Award. Now I am a Girl Scout Ambassador serving on the CEO Advisory Board, actively involved in promoting Girl Scouts and its programs to younger girls in hopes of developing female leaders and empowering them to reach their potential.

Girl Scout CEO Eileen Higgins and Guest Speaker Carol Stillwell (President and CEO of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc.) address the 2019 Gold Award recipients. To learn more about my 2018 Gold Award project, visit https://www.facebook.com/81789241560/posts/10155621180761561/

I’ve been a Girl Scout since 3rd grade and I credit the organization for all my achievements to date. Girl Scouts encourages girls to participate in sports to help them not only stay physically fit, but also to gain confidence. According to Tufts University, children who participate in scouting and youth sports are more likely to develop positive social values (Scouting Wire, ‘Can Scouting and Sports Coexist?’, Nov 24, 2015).

My years of Girl Scouting have exposed me to various new experiences, allowing me to explore different interests, develop new skills, challenge myself, and learn to overcome setbacks. The courage and commitment I have gained from Girl Scouts have helped me become a leader not only in school and skating, but in life as a whole.

I will be forever proud to say, ‘I’m a Girl Scout’

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THANK YOU G

irl Scouts!