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  1. #1

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    Figure skating costs, funding, sponsorships, etc.

    I know this topic comes up once in a while, but I think I need a new brainstorming session for cutting costs, but still maintaining a solid level of training.

    My skater isn't top ranked and is moving up to Novice this year, so applying for any scholarships from USFS won't fly.

    How do you save/budget money for yourself or your kids?

    I need a list of all the creative ways out there that people have shaved dollars and cents from their training and competition budgets.

    Any and all ideas gratefully welcome and considered.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Is your skater old enough to teach LTS classes? (Or volunteer as a helper?)

    I taught tots in exchange for unlimited ice time and group lessons. Some of the older kids (Intermediate level?) did the same thing, although they were generally helpers, not instructors due to their age (13-16). Our rink has a good "Axel plus" class for kids working on doubles, so the lessons were nice, in addition to the ice time, which is a huge help.

    In the same vein, can YOU do any work at the rink? If you have to be there anyway (if you are the type of parent who doesn't leave during training sessions, again probably depends on the age of the skater)- can you file papers, stock skates, work the register, snack bar? Anything instead read the kindle/play on the iphone?

  3. #3

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    If you work at the rink, usually the rink gives you free ice time.

    You can often get good dresses and etc. from synchro teams. Some of them have websites where you can buy their old stuff.
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  4. #4

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    Great ideas! Thank you.

    She's 15. In the past, classes have all been taught by coaches, and they've all been double/triple gold medals.

    I'll contact the rink again and make a sales pitch, see if there's any thing I can do. I'm on the Internets a lot and have a pretty good grasp of social media. I'd love to take over their Facebook/Twitter/Emails.

    Higher level group lessons would be fantastic. All the group classes top out at axel. Some kind of "IJS plus" class with higher jumps and spins would be nice. Although, coaches seem to be picky about who is working on their kids with jumps and technique.

    One of the Russian coaches told me that in her rink in Russia, skaters did group lessons through triples. Is that something done in other countries? Does USFS encourage clubs to provide higher level classes? It seems like a lot of kids start getting priced out pretty quickly, but there seems to be this push to get kids in private lessons quickly and stay there. I'm guessing there are several reasons for it...but at this point, we're kind of at a "more group lessons" or nothing.

    My skater has a pretty solid double axel right now and close to triple sal. Has anyone heard of group lessons for jumps at this level in the US?

    Also, we're trying to keep programs through two seasons. It saves a bit on choreography time/$$, even though with each level there are always adjustments.

  5. #5

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    In the "Russian School", there are group classes right on up. In fact, the Russian (and other nationalities from that part of the world) coaches at my rinks in NY and NJ do elite level group lessons. It's not that they have all the skaters doing the same thing - although I've seen a bit of that for warmup exercises - but that they're all on the ice at the same time. For example, two senior level dance teams are there now, and they're working with coach X as a group. He does something with one pair, while the other practices, and switches every few minutes. Morozov does this, too. I've seen others do this as well, with more than just four skaters involved, although these are not huge groups.

    In the US, in the Boston area, I think it's Garrett Lucash who runs a skating school at multiple rinks, and his model is the Russian model of group lessons right to the elite level.

    Is there another skater at your daughter's level, or close to it, who might be interested in a semi-private lesson? Your daughter and she could both be coached at the same time, to save costs, if a coach is interested. Normally, the cost in that case would not be exactly half a regular private lesson - a bit more than half a private lesson cost for each girl.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozet View Post
    She's 15. In the past, classes have all been taught by coaches, and they've all been double/triple gold medals.
    She could work as a skate guard, or at the food stand, or etc.

    Although, coaches seem to be picky about who is working on their kids with jumps and technique.
    With reason - different technique, different emphasis, etc. Usually, in my area, when two coaches work with the same skater, they are either part of the same "school" - ala Morozov and his sub-coaches - or else they know each other and communicate. However, that is not always the case.
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    For example, two senior level dance teams are there now, and they're working with coach X as a group. He does something with one pair, while the other practices, and switches every few minutes. Morozov does this, too. I've seen others do this as well, with more than just four skaters involved, although these are not huge groups.
    Ah, got it. I understand. Thank you.

    I'd be very interested in something like that. Right now, the only other skater near my daughter's level might be a hard sell for group lessons or pricing. But I'll keep this in mind. If not for jumps, maybe moves or spins mini-group lessons.

  8. #8

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    Talked to rink about my Skater Grrrl helping out with Basic Skills, if not teaching, at least in skate rental room and processing paperwork. Maybe she could keep track of test booklets...I'm thinking, I'm thinking.

    Someone mentioned using GoFundMe. There are a lot of pages for kids in different sports. I feel really weird doing stuff like that. There are so many other high level skaters who need money. But, we'll see...maybe some little old millionaire widow who really loved that Peggy Fleming would be inspired to pay for an ice session or two. ;-)

  9. #9
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    Although, coaches seem to be picky about who is working on their kids with jumps and technique.
    Yeah, at our rink there are a few coaches who keep their kids out of the group classes. And one coach who kids don't like the group class (because they often told they are doing things poorly, since they are...) but a number of the coaches work together on it and rotate who teaches that session of LTS. (It shares the ice with the adult class and low level freestyle, so they rotate through all of them.)

    Another coach has a lot of students and runs his own mixed level freestyle- pre-pre through novice! but at LTS rates. I guess he figures he has to be teaching LTS anyway (it's how the coaches get their ice time free) so it might as well be his own kids.

  10. #10

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    Another coach has a lot of students and runs his own mixed level freestyle- pre-pre through novice! but at LTS rates. I guess he figures he has to be teaching LTS anyway (it's how the coaches get their ice time free) so it might as well be his own kids.
    There are a few coaches starting to so this with stroking/edges classes. It's been a big help financially, and my skater kid likes the group classes. Skating is so solitary,which suits her most of the time. But it's fun and motivating to work in a group, too.

    (My GoFundMe made $100, and that's 2 weeks of unlimited ice here. WHoot! Still feel weird, but not as much, suddenly. )

  11. #11

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    I'm thinking of doing GoFundMe to try to raise some money for some classes I want to take. I've got the site assembled, but didn't publish it, because I feel weird about it. I'd imagine it'd feel a lot less weird if donations starting coming in, though.
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  12. #12

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    I'm thinking of doing GoFundMe to try to raise some money for some classes I want to take.
    There are GoFundMe pages for everything! Dog needs surgery, kid needs car, dream trips and medical needs. I think that those are the ones that make it feel weird. People are asking for money to pay health bills, and here I am asking for cash for ice time and some coaching for figure skating. I guess that's a lot of most of life, though. It's just a little more weird when you see your request next to someone else's, and suddenly it feels frivolous.

    Although, money for classes isn't frivolous, I didn't mean that. Money for classes is a perfect GoFundMe.

    But yes, after all is said and done, a few small "donations" and ice time for May is almost paid. That means a lot. My skater had a bruised confidence year last year. Seeing people put up a few bucks and say, "Here, go skate more" ...she's surprised and touched and so grateful. It's one thing to have mom and dad footing the bills; it's kind of our "job" to believe in her. :-) When someone else gives a thumbs up...it's lovely to see her reaction. It really is.

    But she's still going to have to get a job at the rink. Skating is a never ending empty checkbook waiting to be filled.

  13. #13
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    I think dream trips kind of fall in with figure skating...

    How does GoFundMe work- I mean, do you send it to all your relatives and stuff? Or do strangers donate?
    If it's relatives, perhaps start asking for money for birthday/holidays instead of gifts. Your daughter might get a better idea of the monetary sacrifice it takes to skate if it is "her" money going towards it too.

  14. #14

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    How does GoFundMe work- I mean, do you send it to all your relatives and stuff? Or do strangers donate?
    It was pretty easy to set up. The website helps you make an account, and you can add text, photos, videos. Yes, you can ask friends/relatives. That's the part I hate. But, a few friends really like seeing the skating videos I put up of my daughter, and have asked before about helping out. I just always felt weird (there's that word again!) So, I let them know, and for Grandmothers/aunties I said, "Next birthday or Christmas"...they never know what to get a teen, anyway. My friends are already passing it around a bit, so I don't have to tap dance with my hat out too much. It was kind of an experiment, so we'll see.

    Once there is $100 in donations, your page goes public on the site and is searchable.

    My daughter does put half of all her dog-sitting/plant-watering and birthday money toward skates and costumes. We had a few household disasters last year, and money for Regionals went out the window...and in the toilet, hot water heater and car radiator. But, she had a rough year skating anyway.

    She's a good kid. Yes, typical teen self-absorption at times, but when I say, "You have to wait for that" she doesn't argue. But, generally, yes, I think it does kids well to foot the bill on some of their activities and earn their own spending money. Cuts way down on The Gimmies.
    Last edited by Jozet; 04-18-2014 at 09:32 PM.

  15. #15

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    Lesson sharing with a same-level skater? Custom group class if the rink allows them, with the same coach as her privates - she would get more lesson time for minimal extra money (here it's a minimum of 3 skaters for group lesson rate, just have to organize it and find a coach that will do it).

    Can you or your daughter do any dress work like putting on stones/crystals, doing alterations, or making simple skating skirts to sell to other skaters? When I was a teenager I made and sold skating skirts to other skaters to help pay for lessons.

    Working at the rink as a second job is what I have been doing for free ice time plus a little money for lessons. Depending on child labor laws, 15yo might not be old enough to work as a guard/skate exchange person (the guards do the exchange here, and anything no one else wants to do). I doubt a rink would give your daughter free time by you working there.

  17. #17

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    Can you or your daughter do any dress work like putting on stones/crystals, doing alterations, or making simple skating skirts to sell to other skaters? When I was a teenager I made and sold skating skirts to other skaters to help pay for lessons.
    Hmmmm! She doesn't sew clothes, but she makes these nifty,quirky little dolls that people really love. Maybe an Etsy shop or even test sell some at our upcoming yard sale.

    I've spoken to some coaches and the rink, and expressed interest in group classes for spins, moves, etc. I'm always willing to help promote all the figure skating at the rink. We're sort of focused more toward hockey in these parts, so I love doing PR for the sport. Still trying to spin it into an official PT job for the rinks, but we'll see. Maybe a webpage that is non-rink specific, but promotes skating at all four clubs in the area? A little ad revenue? Hmmmm.

    (GoFundMe is working pretty well. I have enough to pay contract ice for a few months. Now she'll have to put her skating where my mouth is to keep it up.)

  18. #18

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    Glad GoFundMe is working out, Jozet. I'm not sure whether or not this would work for your daughter since she might be past this stage of skating anyway, but I skate public sessions in the summer whenever I need to work on MITF drills or things like that. Case in point, went skating this Sunday and did the one turn forward twizzles drill on a public session. They tend to be fairly quiet once the weather warms up and nobody minds MITF. I know some skaters are already done with their moves by the time they get to novice FS, so this might not be any help for your daughter.

  19. #19

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    Thanks, Iona. We do have a few low cost public sessions here, and we might have a month-long gap in public ice this summer, so that's good to keep in my "go to" file.

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    I am definitely at a different level in skating than your daughter, i.e. I will likely never have a double axel , but along the lines of what ioana is suggesting, I sometimes go to a public session even if I know there are things I can't do on it. It helps keep my skating muscles working even if I just skate around for 30 minutes or so.

    Our city's ice rink has just put in a rule for public skating: "no moves that take the foot above the knee, e.g. jumping". Since none of us adult skaters have jumps that are anywhere near getting our feet that high, we may go to a public skate session to do our jumps and see if we get kicked off
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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