One of the country's top learn-to-skate programs is switching to a new format this year.
Instead of two-day weekend workshops, Camp Rollerblade is offering one-day clinics and cutting its price by more than half.
"The weekend camps worked great for most people," said Allan Wright, the owner of Zephyr Adventures, which runs Camp Rollerblade. "But reserving a whole weekend to learn to skate was tough for many of our potential students."
Camp Rollerblade experimented with the new one-day format last October and found it popular, Wright said.
With only minimal marketing, the 5-hour classes in Miami, New York City and Washington, DC, attracted 30 new skaters. "It is just much easier for people to reserve one Saturday in their busy schedules than to block out an entire weekend," Wright said.
Zephyr is offering 16 one-day Camp Rollerblades this year at various locations across the United States (see box). The price is $99. (Go here to sign up.)
Zephyr launched Camp Rollerblade, which is sponsored by the skate company, three years ago.
During its first two years, the clinics provided ten hours of instruction over two days and charged students $239.
Lead instructors (coordinators) were required to have two co-instructors, and clinics were capped at 24 students, which made for a student-to-teacher ratio of 8 to 1.
But the staffing requirement made it difficult to hold clinics in areas where instructors are scarce. So this year, Wright decided to change the requirements.
"We now allow coordinators to tell us whether they will have one, two or three instructors available," Wright said. "We then cap the camp at the appropriate number of students. That way instructors without local help can simply run multiple camps in a year if demand warrants."
Camp Rollerblade clinics are taught by top inline instructors, among them Kathy McSparran, author of the Inline Planet's Skate Coach column, and Liz Miller, author of Get Rolling. "The program is always seeking new qualified instructors to open new camp locations," Wright said.
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