Q&A with the Fuessen Junior campers

  • Petr Zajic (Czech Republic), Signe Schack (Denmark), Hamish Gallacher (Scotland), Emilie Lovitt (Canada) and Assistant Simone Gonin (Italy). © WCF / Scott Arnold

The 21st WCF / DCV Hummelt Junior Curling Camp took place from 7-13 July in Fuessen, Germany. The camp wraps up the World Curling Federation’s summer camps and courses, after successful ice-tech, umpire and introduction to instructing courses.

Year after year, junior curlers from around the world gather for a week in Germany to learn new curling skills and build friendships that last a lifetime. Some of the sport’s best players have emerged from the week long camp and have gone on to represent their country at world championships. This in itself is a motivating factor for the next generation of curlers, who have the opportunity to learn from Olympians and other elite curlers.

This year, Simone Gonin, who played lead for the Italian men at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, was an assistant. He was a camper in Fuessen ten years ago. He’s happy to be sharing his journey with aspiring young curlers.

We talked with Simone and four junior curlers – Signe from Denmark, Hamish from Scotland, Canada’s Emilie and Petr from Czech Republic to hear about their time at the camp.

Name: Simone Gonin
Age: 29
Home: Italy
Year at camp: Second time as instructor

More from Simone: You realise the campers are here to learn, but it’s strange because also I learn a lot from them. It’s so great to share your different experiences with the other assistants and instructors coming from different continents. This is really the key to grow as a player and a coach – it’s all around sharing information and experiences. You will always find good curlers in the future who attended Fuessen camp. I just try to put all the passion I have into being here and let them know if you have passion and dedication you can succeed.

Name: Signe Schack
Age: 18
Home: Denmark
Year at camp: Second
Favourite curler: I really like Victoria Dupont (nee. Moiseeva) because I now know her because she’s married to a Danish curler – Oliver Dupont – and she’s living in Denmark. She’s been helping with technical training in Denmark and she’s very sweet and very skilled.

More from Signe: I love the coaches they are really knowledgeable, experienced and skilled. You get closer every day which is really nice. The first day was a little bit awkward to start off with, but I felt like everyone thinks that, so, then everyone tries to make it not awkward. I’ve learned so much technical stuff from curling, but most of all it has been the new friendships I’ve made. I don’t think the curling would be as fun if you weren’t with people who you have so much fun with. Now, when you go to competitions outside your country you can meet the people from your team and you can catch up. It’s really cool, to think about possibly representing my country at worlds one day. My parents have been playing a very long time and my parents met through curling! I have been playing three years and I’m pretty mad at myself for not starting earlier because I’ve been dragged to every bonspiel my whole life. Since my parents like curling, if there is a Worlds or Europeans happening, my parents will stream it from YouTube onto our TV.

Name: Hamish Gallacher
Age: 17
Home: Scotland
Year at camp: It’s my first year. Two of my teammates are here with me as well. We won the Scottish under-17s and then Scottish Curling sent us to camp to take part as a prize. It was good to win that and come across here and take part of this camp because it’s been a great experience.
Favourite curler: David Murdoch, watching him on TV growing up and I’ve met him a couple of times and I just think he’s really inspirational.

More from Hamish: My granny and grandad curl, my dad too. He took me down to the local ice rink when I was younger and I’ve been curling ever since. Here, I’ve met a lot of people and picked up a lot of tricks and new things and trying to experiment with the tips the coaches are giving me. Learning how to balance my weight while I’m coming out of the hack, trying to get 50/50 distribution on my hack foot and sliding foot helps keep my slide solid. It’s been great meeting people from all over the world. There are so many characters to meet – I’ve got lots of stories to tell and its really good getting to know everybody. I’ll be hoping to come back next year.

Name: Emilie Lovitt [pictured above © WCF / Christian Leibbrandt ]
Age: 17
Home: Ottawa, Canada
Year at camp: First
Favourite curler: Kaitlyn Lawes would inspire me the most. I’m 5 foot 2 inches and so is she – so she really inspires me to be small but mighty.

More from Emilie: I got introduced to curling by a friend. I moved to a new town and they said the best way to make friends was to go to the local curling rink. Who knew that five years later I would be here – training with top athletes. We’ve been working really hard on our skills and learning new things. Usually I’m a toe-slider but right now I’m going flat foot and I can see a huge difference in my shoulders so it’s quite different what I’m used to but it’s really fun. I’m learning new things that I don’t always learn in Canada. I feel like a new person. The instructors are super awesome, they are super knowledgeable. It’s so awesome to get that feeling of someone who’s been to the Olympics and learn their perspective and how they did things at the Olympics. I would love to make it to a world championship and come and see all my friends again. That would be really cool. I have to travel the world to go see all my friends now.

Name: Petr Zajíc
Age: 18
Home: Czech Republic
Year at camp: Fourth
Favourite curler: I learn something from each curler.

More from Petr: I started curling four years ago. Every year I come here it is better and better. One day I would like to try training in Canada. My goal was to come here and see my friends. Every year I learn some new habits and tricks and then I can bring what I learn back to Czech Republic and help my friends and teammates.

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