Published August 22, 2012
School is set to start, but it's not too late to think about kids' summer camps for next year.
Woodward West is like no other camp in the world— a Disneyland for extreme sports.
“Pretty much people who think of action sports camps they think about Woodward,” said Ben Snowden BMX professional.
The camp combines action sports like skateboarding, BMX, inline skating and gymnastics. But best of all, kids from seven to 18 are taught hands-on skills by professional athletes and former Olympians.
“What makes Woodward special is that you have the diversity. To see the collaboration and to see the gymnasts and the action sports get a long I think it’s really special,” said Jason Gatson silver medal gymnast at the 2004 Olympic games and guest coach at Woodward West.
Camp Woodward has been around for over 35 years and started off as a gymnastics camp in State College, Pennsylvania. Over the years, the camp has expanded with other divisions like Woodward West in Tehachapi, Calif.; Tahoe, Calif.; Lake Owen, Wisconsin; Copper Mountain, Colorado; and Beijing, China to include action sports.
“It’s a great training facility for kids to come and learn and it’s just great to hang out and meet new people. You learn a lot and you get so much better,” said Brittney Conrad a former camper and now skateboarding coach.
Woodward West is located in the foothills of Tehachapi, California and is about two hours north of Los Angeles. Campers can come for one week and all skill levels are welcome. The cost of the camp for one week is around $1,000.
“Come! No matter how expensive it is; it’s definitely worth it,” said first time BMX camper Lawrence Meimetis.
The facilities are state of the art and the camp features a wide variety of equipment for the campers to master their tricks.
“All the transitions are perfect, it’s got park, it’s got dirt. There’s a lot of street stuff here and pretty much anything you want when it comes to riding,” said Meimetis.
The training gym for gymnastics is also top of the line.
“It’s a wonderful place for anybody aspiring to be a gym owner or own a club this is a dream gym,” said Gatson.
One of the main attractions for action sports campers is the Mega Ramp. There are only three in the world and one is at Woodward West. The Mega Ramp is 28 feet tall and has a 2 ½ vert. The word vert refers to the vertical part of the ramp. The larger the vert the harder it is to ride the ramp.
“There’s not a lot of kids who can say that they’ve skated the Mega Ramp,” said 14-year-old skateboarder Evan Wessler.
And not many kids say they were coached by sports greats. Guest coaches have included Kerri Strug, Paul Hamm, and Tony Hawk. They coach for about a week, and when camp is not in session the professionals use the facilities to train for competitions.
“It’s a lot of fun to come here and visit as a professional since we get to come in the summer and meet all the campers and give them tips,” said Snowden.
Many of these kids are not experiencing campers regret. “I haven’t seen a kid not smiling,” said Jake Kinney mountain bike director.