One thing law enforcement got right is the ability to present an incredible amount of study into a 40 or 50 training course. I can honestly say that I’ve been to week-long schools that were more challenging and rewarding than a semester-long college course. After a few years of absorbing materials in short courses I really got into the swing of absorbing and processing information like a sponge. That came in handy a a few years ago I had the opportunity to jump into the deep end and attend the U.S. Fencing Association’s Coaches College.
I’ve been involved with fencing since I was 12. La Belle Fencing Club, Midland’s only fencing group, was reformed a few years ago and in need of coaches. The USFA offered coach training for a pretty modest price at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. I was all over it. I’ve since gone again to elevate my coach rating and will continue to go back as often as I can. Our club received a generous donation for coach development and I looked forward to seeing some mountains. It’s not an easy course. There are three sessions per day and down time is spent with your nose in a book or “pencil fencing” where coach students visualize blade work with each other in slow-motion battle with a pair of #2’s. Walking onto the grounds of the USOTC is an impressive experience by itself, but the honor of actually training there really inspires. It’s the first time I’ve ever had guided tours make a stop to watch me train.
I’ve since found week long courses for auto racing, music, shooting, fitness, religion, motorcycles, and just about anything else someone is willing to teach for money. Why leave all the summer camp fun for kids? Many of these events are reasonable in cost and held in really nice places. Fire up Google and see what it might be like to ride a cattle drive, knee-drag on a superbike, shoot 1000 yards or shred a guitar like Slash.