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  • Jordan D. Smith

Portland Wrestling Club Holds First Girls Only Camp


You wrestle like a girl. To Aimie Miller, those aren’t fighting words; it’s a compliment. A long time fan of wrestling, Miller is also the newly elected president of the Portland Wrestling Club, where her daughter Jonnie competed for the past few years. “I've been really passionate about wrestling and its benefits for most of my life. I started going to tournaments with my little brother at a young age and fell in love,” Miller said.


“When Jonnie started wrestling we saw such an amazing change in her confidence, physical and mental strength, and attitude,” Miller told the Beacon, “‘it's been so good for her that I really just want to share that with as many girls as I can.” Like other K-5 sport clubs/leagues the Portland club helps kids get exposed to the sport. In the past few years the club included a handful of girls. Wanting to give her daughter and other girls in the wrestling club more opportunities for competition Jonnie and a few other girls from the club went to the MYWAY Girls State Tournament where several team members medaled. Wanting to build on that success led Miller and other parents to discuss a girls only camp.


While Portland club and scholastic wrestling teams have had girls participate for years, there has been no consistent building of a girls program according to Miller. “Women's Wrestling is currently the fastest growing sport in the nation, and there are so many new opportunities for girls,” Miller says, “so, we decided to host a girls camp to create awareness, and hopefully show some girls how much fun wrestling is and get them to join a team in town.”


The club recruited Ionia High School alum, Paige Campbell who wrestles for Adrian College to help instruct the camp. “We really wanted to get a female role model in the room [for the camp], someone that is excited about the sport…to show girls all the benefits…and let them know that it's for all different types of girls…,” Miller says. The camp welcomed 27 girls grades K-12 on July 18th for a one day intensive camp. The camp introduced girls unfamiliar with wrestling to the fundamental technique instructed by club coaches and Adrian College wrestler Paige Campbell. The campers also enjoyed a variety of fun games and lunch together.


Miller says that the girls had a great time and coaches and volunteers had great discussions with parents about their desire for more opportunities like this for girls in Portland. Based on the success of this first girls camp, the club plans to hold another girls camp in the future. To learn more about the Portland Wrestling Club you can follow them on Facebook.


Photo courtesy of Amie Miller

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