COVID cancelled summer camps but created new opportunities
Camp Leader and Skyliners Senior skater Megan McDevitt, writing a message on the OTM Good Luck Wall at US Synchronized Skating Nationals. (Credits: OTM - 2020)
Since the spread of the coronavirus, a big part of the world has been stopped, forcing the cancellation of all events, including the OneTeamMVMT summer camps. Working for the promotion of the sport, the organization offered fans of synchronized skating to meet in another way.
New needs of synchro skaters
The objectives of OTM summer camps are normally to develop skills and community building in grassroots areas. But as the needs of the synchro skaters worldwide have changed in these times, so OTM has as well. "The synchro world needs positivity and encouragement to keep training hard, and ways to feel connected not only to one another, but to our sport. With the cancellation of our camps, this has become our focus for the present time," continues Lisa.
One camp remaining in Newfoundland, Canada
The only remaining camp at this time, is the August camp in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. "All of the participants for that camp are local (which is a positive factor), but we don’t know what the province will allow as far as group gatherings go, and travel into the province (for our coach and staff)," explains Lisa.
"Synchro camps (of 100+ people) and social distancing are two concepts that are difficult to combine together. It is a shame to lose these development opportunities, but we have to keep focused on the long-term goal of health and safety for all, even if it means short-term sacrifices," she adds.
"It was a great way to bring people around the world together"
So the idea came for a free “4-week” online camp every Saturday, with off-ice classes included lessons in flexibility, nutrition, mental training, relaxation, and various types of dance. "The camp itself wrapped up in early May, and the feedback was incredibly positive. It was a great way to bring people around the world together, and give them something to work toward and look forward to," she enthuses.
Lisa Carriere explains that synchro skaters seemed to really love the variety of the classes, especially the fun hip hop classes with Sam Chouinard. "It was such a unique opportunity to get to learn from renowned coaches that skaters may not otherwise have access to!"
"There are so many skills that go into making a good synchro skater!"
Are online courses something OTM will maintain in the future?
"Since some synchro teams are formed now and now doing their own training “from home” 3-7 days a week, the current needs are different than they were 2 months ago. We will do our best to fill the next gap, whether that means another online camp, or something different. It is more important than ever, for us to have a flexible approach!"
Competitive sport teaches us resilience
"I think everyone is concerned to some degree. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, and we are surrounded by it these days. There are so many unknowns at this time, but if competitive sport teaches us one thing, it is resilience. Through the uncertainty, we have to control the controllable and take it one day at a time. Eventually, this will pass and the sport will return - we just don’t know when. I personally think that the teams who are able to stay motivated and use this time most effectively, will be the teams that we see making great strides when the sport returns."
"Covid-19 has changed a lot for me"
Much like the skaters and coaches, Lisa is currently finding ways to keep busy and stay productive. "Covid-19 has changed a lot for me, because of all of the cancelled camps and personal coaching contracts (which means way more time at home). I have more time to garden, explore outdoors, bake, and really take joy in the simple pleasures of life."
In closing, the OTM founder wants to challenge all of the skaters to wonder why they love synchro, what they want to accomplish in the sport and what they need to improve to get there. Lisa Carriere recommends using those lists to fuel the training.
"Good luck and keep healthy everyone!"