Attention Campers

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Awww, ain't that sweet. The photo shows Swiss Olympic silver medal skip Mirjam Ott coaching a couple of tykes.

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We've been promoting various curling camps throughout the summer, and now that many of them are underway or even finished, we thought we would recap. In no particular order:

• The first of four HOT SHOTS Fantasy Camps ended on the weekend, and Texas Dan was there in all his big, friendly glory. You can read his first of what will (hopefully) be multiple HOT SHOTS posts on Dan's Bonspiel Blog.

• The 15th annual Alberta Rocks curling camp filled the Leduc Curling Club for two separate camps this month, with 288 kids taking part. Most were from Alberta, but a few travelled from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and even the Northwest Territories to try to improve their game. Celebs on hand included Olympian Amy Nixon and world junior champ Charley Thomas, both of whom graduated from such camps earlier in their careers.

• The Ol' Bear, Kevin Martin, jumped into the camp game this summer with two academies, one for adults (just finished) and juniors (now underway).

• Naturally, there's the 14th annual Trillium junior camp (two of them) in Guelph, Ontario, held just prior to the first HOT SHOTS, and not too far away down the road. 192 curlers between age 13 and 19 over a two-week span.

So... are all these camps working?

Is it worth it to plant the seed of curling growth during the lazy summer months?

Specific to the issue of kids: are they staying with the sport, and are they maximizing their potential?

Jim Waite says yes, particularly to the last query. Quote: It's amazing how this camp is producing champions. Waite, the Canadian men's national team coach, also runs the Trillium (and Amethyst) camps and he proudly hangs a banner onsite, which features over 100 names of kids who have attended the camp and later competed in a Canadian championship.

One example is 17-year-old Jamie Parker. He attended his fifth camp last week and dreams of his name appearing on that banner. As Parker told the Guelph Mercury:

My friends made fun of me, and then I brought them out to curl and it was hilarious watching them. Now they have a huge respect for curling. Actually, three of the buddies that came out started playing and we came third at OFSAA.

Also:

• Looks like U.S. Olympic speed skating whiz Bonnie Blair went kayak curling. Yeah, that's right, kayak curling...

• 2005 STOH champion skip Jennifer Jones is an honourary chair for Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz' re-election campaign. How about that.

• OK, what the heck is this? Can somebody tell us? It's also here on YouTube, and it's quite cool, but that's all we know...