The History of Performance Paddle Camp
Performance Paddle Camp began in 1997 when Hall of Famers and National champion’s Sue Aery and Gerri Viant began running paddle camps. They taught camp at various clubs in New Jersey and New York. Mike Gillespie joined the team in 1998 and their camp was named AVG (Aery, Viant, Gillespie) but that name was short lived. AVG? Average? We then happily came up with Performance Paddle Camp.
In 2000, we held our first Nantucket paddle camp over a three day weekend. We had a great time teaching on the island but never saw the beach. We now spend a week at Destination Paddle Camp on Nantucket Island and we carve out some beach time!
The first five camp seasons included week long paddle excursions in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia and plenty of Starbucks visits. We had a busy schedule on the road and also running camp at our home clubs. We spent many hours together in the car discussing format, timing, progressions and looking to always progress our camps. “Red dot, yellow dot” was born on a car ride in 1999. That progressed to calling the overhead and announcing which dot was the target. “My red dot, or My yellow dot” and this needed to be said in a calm manner. We first taught “I’m in the middle” at Skokie CC in 2002. It has become a mainstay for camp, and has proven to be both impactful and has brought a lot of laughs. P.S. You better be in the middle when you say you are.
The early years were busy and fun. We would be out teaching camp, rotating courts, Gerri and I wearing shorts and Sue would be wearing gloves. The cold bothered her. One night over dinner in Wilmette IL, Sue announced that she was retiring from teaching and going back to Chiropractic School. We were sad to see her go, but happy for her in her new venture.
For the past 12 years, Gerri and Mike have been fortunate to have an experienced, passionate and talented camp staff which includes:
- Christy Hays
- Jay Frazer
- Guga Goncalves
- Sue Tarzian
- Juan Arraya
- Anne Knobloch
- Johan Durandt
- Sebastian Bredberg
- George Wilkinson
- Ana Brzova
- Max LePivert
We have enjoyed working with paddle players from all over the country and making lasting friendships along the way. The paddle community is very special and we feel lucky to build these relationships and love what we do.