In the Mad River Valley this summer, 180 young athletes will be pushing their limits while learning how to be a complete athletes. ELITEAM Conditioning Camps are run by Doug and Kelley Lewis of Fayston and 2011 marks their 20th year inspiring kids.
"Our goal is to do two things. First, educate them about sports physiology, psychology and nutrition. Second, and more important, inspire them to push themselves through perceived limits," says Doug, who is a two-time Olympic skier from Vermont.
"At this age, the athletes should not be specializing yet. I think we do 23 different activities with them from high element ropes courses and mountain biking, to yoga and dance. We have them in the kitchen cooking nutritious meals to competing in a biathlon, complete with paintball guns," points out Kelley. “The message; everyone one of those activities will help you become a faster ski racer, or better soccer player, or better at whatever your primary sport happens to be,” she added.
"Our staff is key and the best part is 90 percent of them have been campers themselves at some point so they know the culture and believe in the message," says Doug. Every camp ends on a Saturday this July featuring the ELITEAM Olympics. "The Olympics are a fun way to show off to the parents and to the athletes themselves a little about what they have learned. With the audience, the stakes and stress is higher so they must use the tools we have taught them to focus, visualize and then perform," continues Doug.
What started out as a way to pass along their knowledge of sports to a younger generation has turned into a year-round lifestyle and a lot of work for Doug and Kelley. To them it is a labor of love. "In 2010, we had our first ELITEAM Olympian. ELITEAMers can be found racing World Cup racers, coaching throughout the U.S., as well as jumping off cliffs in wing-suits in the French alps. Last year's t-shirt said it all: Push until you want to quit. Then try one more time!"
For more information and pictures go to www.eliteam.com. There readers will find information on camps, Blog and picture gallery. Call Doug Lewis at (802) 793-3078 for more information. The World Cup session of camp is going on this week through July 23 and the final World Cup Session 2 takes place July 25 through 30. All camps take place at the Green Mountain Valley School campus in Fayston.