Nearly 100 student-athletes from across New York City spent the last two weeks taking part in Beat the Streets’ annual Top of the Podium (T.O.P.) Camps at Seward Park Educational Campus in Lower Manhattan.
This year’s camp was split into two sessions - one for middle school kids & high school girls and one for high school boys – which allowed coaches and clinicians to provide more individualized instruction and guidance to the smaller groups. The full camp structure for the two weeks remained the same as in years past: multiple daily wrestling practice sessions, various life skills activities and opportunities to bond with fellow wrestlers one final time before the end of summer vacation.
On the mat, an outstanding lineup of coaches made themselves available to work with the campers. College coaches Anthony Boneventura (Stevens), Scott Honecker (Williams), Corey Luce (NYU), and Dan Ressler (Roger Williams) each spent at least one day with the high school boys and new BTS Girls Development Director Emma Randall – a former U.S. National Team coach – used the opening week of camp to spend her first extended time with our girls since joining the Beat the Streets staff.
The camp also provided chances to learn and have fun away from the mat. Every student spent some time learning the intricacies of their upcoming application process (middle schoolers applying to NYC high schools and high schoolers looking to go to college), contributing to a mass letter writing campaign to thank some of BTS’ donors, preparing for and competing in camp-wide talent shows, and researching information on high schools and colleges for a “college fair”-style presentation on the last day of the camp.
Arguably the best part of the camp is the fact that it is primarily staffed by Beat the Streets alumni. Nearly 20 young men and women - who can relate to the campers’ experiences better than anyone - returning to Beat the Streets as mentors makes T.O.P. Camp one of the most impactful programs the organization runs throughout the year.
“T.O.P. Camp was a wonderful experience composed of impressive technique, hard conditioning, and awesome insight into the college recruiting process. I feel that having access to decorated coaches and tough training partners has helped me improve tremendously.” - Jeff Geller, Staten Island Tech
“T.O.P. Camp was an experience in which we got to go over the basics of shot recovery and really put in some repetition. It also was great to see Coach (Emma) Randall and other alumni’s different coaching styles. The various life skills and activities were entertaining and educational. I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of these practices which helped fine tune the fundamentals.” - Kai Poux, Brooklyn Tech High School
“In college, I really missed the wrestling atmosphere and being able to give back to BTS was a great experience. I loved seeing the growth in the athletes from the first day until the end of camp. Each one of them gained something from the camp, whether it was on or off the mat. I really enjoyed seeing the creativity the athletes had with the activities that were held during the camp. Overall, it was a good camp and I'm looking forward to doing it next year.” - Fatoumata Diallo, BTS Alumnae and T.O.P. Camp Counselor.