by ICP Examiner Tina Salafatinos, Greece
So pleased to be a part of another successful program in Athens Greece. Organized on short notice and hosted by ICP Apprentice Examiner John Kousparis, I believe this was the highest scoring group I've ever ever had the pleasure of examining!
One of the joys of a program weekend is being impressed and surprised on test day. I should know by now that the quiet one usually becomes comes out on top. All of the candidates took things quite seriously, they studied and it showed. Paris, one of the candidates even had all 50 pages of his manual laminated! It'll last forever! So although this course was small with only four candidates, it was actually really "big" because the impact of these four dynamic new instructors will continue to grow the sport here in Greece. They all felt that the continued success of their current programs was contingent on them getting their certification through ICP and I am very proud to be able to assist in them reaching that goal.
Establishing a skate school, or even a skate club, are entities not so easily acquired in Greece. Municipalities must approve and have definite requirements for that approval. For example the club or school must have a certain minimum of sports graduates on board to be legitimate. Its not easy what they do here with the current bureaucracy.
Alexandra and Manolis were from Rethymno Crete, who by the way are getting married in July, are currently teaching 150 kids, at ONE TIME in their school. More than 400 kids have passed through their school so far with their youngest being 3 years! They use a go cart track as their private training center. They have some excellent ideas, games and techniques that would be a boon to share with those who specialize in teaching children. They are both passionate about what they do and make good use of a whistle!
Manolis is a record holding track athlete and at his personal training center he also teaches skating. Paris and Vasilis are from Ptolemaida in Northern Greece. Paris works for a newspaper as well-how convenient! Vasilis has the longest running aggressive skate shop in Greece and getting certified makes it legitimate for them to move forward in their repective skating businesses.
On another note, I did their FNS - Friday night skate. OMG, if you can make it through that, you can skate! So many surface changes, curbs, dark streets-- yet great handling of higher traffic areas. At the half stop, I got swarmed by about 15 little kids wanting to know all about skating. AND of course, they were informed about the very first skate shop that is ONLY skates in all of Greece. The store Powerskate EU
, owned by ICP instructor and program coordinator John Kousparis, is truly impressive. Its been since 2007 that this idea was born and is finally a reality.
Overall such a wonderful weekend of hard work and great skating. Looking forward to doing more to help grow the sport throughout the country.