Wrestlers from grades 2 through 12 come to L-C Middle School to learn techniques from a handful of qualified college coaches and wrestlers who strive to take kids to the next level. The 3-day, 2-night camp isn't all about wrestling, but that's where it starts.
"My goal is just to get them to do a little bit of wrestling during the summer," said Berceau Thursday at his camp. "You don't have to do a lot. Obviously, some kids will. I just want out team, and the area (kids) just to do something. Don't take that nine months off until it starts up again."
Wisconsin Badgers sophomore Jesse Thielke, a former 2-time National Greco Champion, and 4-time WIAA Champion. is one of the coaches at the camp.
"I can remember when I was 9 or 10 working out at the high school with Coach Berceau," said Thielke after the morning wrestling session Thursday. "He saw me when I was little, not it's great to get to come back."
One of the biggest things that makes Berceau's camp special, is what it offers away from the mat. After each wrestling session, campers bike 3 miles to Berceau's 40-acre property, Blue Lagoon Ponds, to take part in a variety of activities from fishing to swimming to basketball. The kids also set up tents along the sprawling property and have the option to stay the night for two nights.
"I remember when I was younger and you would go to a wrestling camp and and sit in a dorm in between sessions and just be bored," recalls Berceau. "It just made camp miserable. I was really looking for something that would make these kids want to come back."
"As soon as I get there I don't stop moving or playing," Thielke said of Berceau's property. I'm 22 years old and I'm talking about playing for 5 hours yesterday. It's crazy; it's so much fun."
Thielke has attended many camps throughout the years and said none offers a high level of coaching along with leisure activities like Berceau's Championship Camp does. Both guys know it's important to keep it fun in the summer so kids keep coming back to the sport, which they say will benefit each athlete in the long run.
"It's much more than competition and medals and trophies," said Thielke. "It's what you get here (points at heart) and what you get here (point at head). It prepares you for the future. They don't know it yet, but they'll thank me (for putting them through the hard work) later. Just like I come back and thank Coach Berceau."
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