During summer my older brother and his friends (who also wrestled) went to summer camp for a week. When they returned from camp they were exhausted; once they got a good night’s sleep, I would hear all about camp. I heard about the tough runs on the beach, the great technique they learned from world-class athletes, the famous wrestlers they got to meet, the games they played and the new friends they made. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to attend the same camps my brother did.
As that day approached, it was not what I had imagined. I was in 7th grade and all my friends in wrestling were going to summer camps, so I figured I better get the ball rolling as well. I called the camp my brother attended to inquire about registration. I was informed that girls couldn’t attend these all boys’ camps. I asked why I was not allowed and I was told that they had no place for me to sleep and shower. I talked to my mom and she was willing to drive me to and from camp, over an hour and a half every day. I called the camp back and again was informed that even with the driving accommodations I would not be allowed to attend camp. This time the reason was simply because I was a girl. I was shocked! I could not believe that I couldn’t go to the same great wrestling camps that my brother and his friends attended. I was not completely deterred so I found more camp flyers and called them as well only to have the same result.
I can’t tell you how upsetting that was to me. I didn’t understand why I was not allowed to benefit in the same ways my older brother did. That year all the best wrestlers in my club went to camp and came back better wrestlers. I stayed home and worked one on one with my coach Dave Chapman and my mom (the only person we could get to come in and workout with me).
I promised myself that someday I would provide a high quality camp where girls could come and learn from world-class wrestlers. Last year that dream came true. MVD wrestling camps were created and 82 women wrestlers from the United States and Canada, looking to get better, came to camp and learned from some of the best wrestlers in the world. They worked hard, woke up every morning at 6am for runs, learned new skills every day, swam in the pool, wrestled duals every night, challenged themselves, pushed harder than they new they were capable, made new friends and improved their confidence. We had a blast with these amazing young women and we can’t wait for next year’s camps!