. Not exactly something you'd expect
to find nestled quietly in the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania
, but it's there, and it's incredible.
Woodward began many years ago as a Gymnastics camp, where many Olympians trained, and many still do train there. But, in the mid-80s, something happened. BMX Racing was getting big, and so Woodward built a track. It started quietly but it grew. Fast. Before long, the racers there started building ramps to ride. It progressed and the ramps grew, in both size and multitude. Professional ramp riders started coming just to ride the ramps. Skateboarders heard about it too, so they came. Inliners followed soon after. Before anybody knew what happened, Woodward had transformed from a quiet gymnastics camp to the biggest mecca of extreme sports anywhere in the world.
Today, Woodward is massive. Containing seventeen seperate skate parks and dirt jumps, servicing hundreds of campers every week, and housing many pro athletes. Woodward is the most well-known and oldest extreme sports camp in existence. The facilities are beautiful, and the landscape can only be described as idyllic.
Woodward is also home to some great innovations in how to learn and practice these sports. Foam pits to jump into off of ramps aid in the process of an other-wise dangerous learning process. Resi pads are the next step up from foam, and allow a trick to be landed and the person to ride away from it, but it is soft and slippery so a crash won't result in as serious an injury as a real ramp. Many other special ramps are available to lower the learning curve. In addition to this, all facilites are monitored constantly by O.S.I.s or On-Site Instructors, who not only are lifeguards of sorts for the skateparks, but will give campers pointers on tricks.
The incredible facilites are only part of the attraction of this camp. Many top pros in all three sports are residents at camp, and help instruct campers, when they themselves are not in training. Also, campers have an assigned instruction group, which train together everyday under the supervision of an instructor which devotes much time and energy to help teach the kids. At night, campers bunk in one of many air-conditioned cabins, complete with bathroom and shower.
In addition to all of this, many additional activites are available to campers. Ranging from paintball, to go-carts, to arts and crafts, to horse back riding, the acitivies are free (except paintball) and are available daily. Also available for campers are pools, arcades, and a canteen.
This is not just a kiddie-camp either. Campers range in age from 7 to 17. People over 18 who want to attend can either work there, or attend a special week.
Another very important aspect of the camp is the atmosphere. It's a very loose sort of do you're own thing sort of place, which is very good for the types of kids attending it. Not only that, but the staff contributes to make it a place totally unique. Almost every single staff member is a biker, skater, or inliner, and this generally makes everyone get along much better because everyone understands what makes everyone else tick.
As you can see, for any extreme sports participant, Woodward is the place to be. Whether it's a professional competition, a camper-pro team activity, or just a day to relax and ride, there's always something to do at Woodward, and always a place to do nothing at all.