I cant thank J. Robinson camps enough for helping shape my work ethic. I had the privilege of attending the 14 Day Ashland, Oregon Camp in 1984, and 1985. These camps have played a huge role in my success in wrestling an [...]
I cant thank J. Robinson camps enough for helping shape my work ethic. I had the privilege of attending the 14 Day Ashland, Oregon Camp in 1984, and 1985. These camps have played a huge role in my success in wrestling and in life.
My son Max attended the 14 Day Ashland Camp in 2015, and the 28 Day Camp in 2016. Max has many great things to say about his camp experience.
My youngest son Andy plans to attend a J. Robinson Intensive Camp in 2018.
As high school wrestling coach, I can tell you that wrestlers returning from a summer at a J. Robinson Camp are more confident, more accountable, more focused, and show great improvement in wrestling skill. J. Robinson wrestlers also learn how to wrestle and function when they are tired. Former J. Robinson wrestlers are ready to compete for an entire match whistle to whistle. They are the kids that others do not enjoy wrestling against.
The skills wrestlers learn at J. Robinson Camps will pay dividends for the rest of their lives.
This is going to be a long testimonial, but I will be as brief as I can. My son has been wrestling since the age of 4. He has always had up years and down years in wrestling. Fast forward to his freshman year in high sch [...]
This is going to be a long testimonial, but I will be as brief as I can. My son has been wrestling since the age of 4. He has always had up years and down years in wrestling. Fast forward to his freshman year in high school. He had some luck and one of the senior's that year, Chase Clasen, pulled him under his wing. Chase had known Hunter for a long time. My son was, and still is, a very hard worker in the wrestling gym. But he did not have the success he was seeking. We had been kicking around the idea of J-Rob, because Chase had gone there and was a black hat winner as well. One night after I picked him up from practice I asked how he was doing and he said, "I need to get right in my head. I think I have what it takes physically, but my mind is missing something". After that statement, I thought to myself, "well, let's get this kid where he needs to be". That season, he made it to state but did not place. Fast forward to summer 2015. I scrimped, saved and fund raised the money to go. I still did not have all of it at the deadline and the J-Rob people gave me extra time. He was going no matter what it took. As a single parent, it took me one month of being late on a car payment, a light bill and water bill. But I managed it. When he left, he had also been going through the trials of being a teenage boy, struggling with father issues and wondering where he really belonged. He went to camp, came back and was so happy. There was a kick in his step, so to speak. Fast forward to Sophomore season. He was force to be reckoned with. His confidence was out the universe. He still had "those few" guys he had trouble getting through. But his toughness actually began at state, February 16th, 2016. He won Districts, won Regionals. His bracket was STACKED for state. The #1 guy had forfeit to a teammate, as to jack the brackets up and try and give his teammate a chance. The team had left the morning of February 16th. Unbeknownst to myself, or my son, his father had taken his own life the night before on the 15th. We live in a small town, news travels quickly. But my son was on the bus. I had to call the coaches and they had to tell him when they got to their hotel. I wasn't there and it had to be done as news was traveling quickly on social media sites. Once he found out, he instantly went into survival mode. He said he had a job to do and there was nothing he could do right now for a decision that his dad had permanently made. He had a family, a team of his peers, that were depending on him. He asked that I, his mother, stay far away from him throughout the whole weekend. He knew that if he heard me, felt me, touched me, he would lose it. So I stayed clear across the dome and watched from afar and cheered him on. He managed to get through a boy in the semis who had dismantled him earlier in the season. He cried after that match. The #1 guy ended up losing to the #2 guy and my son wrestled him for 3/4 place. He ended up 4th that year. Even though he wasn't a champion that year, the mental toughness and skills he learned at J-Rob kicked in. He kept his notebook where he could easily find it. I don't believe if he'd not had the mental toughness training he had that summer, that he would've been able to make it through that state tournament. Mr. Robinson gives kids the tools to be successful, not only on the mat, but in life and the REAL world. Now we can fast forward to this past season!!! STATE. CHAMPION. A record of 40-1. The only loss he had was 3-1. He came back and won in the semis 7-2. And my final words will be a quote from coach Pham, from Yakima, WA. "I bow down to Hunter Cruz, the most mentally tough wrestler in the state of Washington. Period." Hmmmm... and where do you all think he got those skills from?
Thank You for Changing My Life
J – I would like to thank you for all that you have done for me. You have changed my life and my family in more ways than you can imagine. My name is Rico Stormer. I am from a small town in Montana called Circle. I hav [...]
Thank You for Changing My Life
J – I would like to thank you for all that you have done for me. You have changed my life and my family in more ways than you can imagine. My name is Rico Stormer. I am from a small town in Montana called Circle. I have attended your fourteen day intensive camp in Oregon the past four years with my brothers. My older brother Flynn won the Black Hat in 2012 and I won it in 2011 and 2013. We treat this award with great respect because of the hard work required to earn it. Winning the Black Hat has given me the confidence to pursue my goals and accomplish them. While at your camps we learned far more than just wrestling skills. Your camps have changed our lives forever. We have improved as wrestlers and as people. My brothers and I have applied the J Seven to our lives and we have seen drastic changes. I placed at state very year due to your camp. Without it, I do not know if I ever would have placed. I thought I knew what hard work was until I came to your intensive camp. Since then, my outlook on life has changed. I have a new perspective on life and try to find the positive in everything I do. Your camp has also taught me how to deal with setbacks and injuries. I am now no longer defeated by them. I get right back up and go at it again. This is what happened to me in wrestling. God continued to test me and see how much I wanted the state title. I have battled continuous injuries and losses. The past two years I have lost in the semifinals at state. This year I trained harder than ever before and was prepared. I defeated everyone at state I wrestled. No one ever scored on me. I felt relaxed going into my state title match because I had done all I could to prepare myself and the rest was up to God. I beat my opponent in the finals at 138# 5-0 and became my school’s first state champion in wrestling. I also set nine school records this season for wrestling. I am hoping to lead by example and have more kids join the sport in my community. Currently the high school team consists of my younger brother, Quincy Stormer, and a 113-pound wrestler. My family and I have been promoting wrestling in the area and now our AAU program has over forty wrestlers. My brothers and I try to teach them the J Seven and other skills you have given us. You have impacted our community because you have changed my family. You have taken my blinds off and shown me I can be more than I ever imagined I could be. I applied to several Ivy League schools this year and was accepted by Harvard. I will be attending school there this fall and I will be part of the wrestling team. I have set the goal of being a national placer for Harvard. I know it is possible if I am willing to put more work into it than anyone else. While at Harvard, I will be pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. I also plan on attending seminary school and becoming a pastor. As you told us at camp, God put us here for a purpose and I intend to find that purpose. You signed my hat at the end of camp last year. You said to me, “Go out and changed the world and make a difference.” I told you I would and I intend to keep my word. I have the goal to change the word for the better. Thank you for being a part of my life. Every year I attended your camp I learned something new. I always came back a more positive and hard working person. You and your camps influence were a major turning point in my life. I cannot thank you enough for what you do. My younger brothers Quincy and Lincoln will be attending the Oregon camp this summer and I hope they learn as much there as I did. Thank you for changing my life. You have prepared me for the future and I am ready to change the world.
My name is Claudio Torres, Head Wrestling Coach at Metea Valley High School. Many years ago I wanted to attend the 28day JROB camp but wasn't fortunate enough to get a chance. Once I became a Head Coach I wanted to help [...]
My name is Claudio Torres, Head Wrestling Coach at Metea Valley High School. Many years ago I wanted to attend the 28day JROB camp but wasn't fortunate enough to get a chance. Once I became a Head Coach I wanted to help provide an opportunity to help mold my wrestlers to become better men. This camp has done wonders and I'm a firm believer in everything about the camp. I look forward to the day when my son is old enough to attend. In only a hand full of years I have sent almost a dozen kids to the 28 day camp. Young men returned and it's because of how the wrestlers are held accountable for their actions. Every Metea wrestler that has gone has returned more focused than when they left. They came back more respectful and willing to put more effort in. Their mentality has changed for the better and not only are the wrestlers more committed to the sport but the parents are completely more dedicated as well. The wrestlers have learned to appreciate the things that were done for them here by their parents and that's great. I will continue to help kids go to this camp as long as I'm a head coach.
Thanks to the whole JROB crew!
Heading to West Point
My name is Ryan O’Connell, and last year I was a 28 day camper. I saw that today is the check in day for the 28 day camp, so I wanted to write you and tell you that tomorrow I begin a similar challenge. I will board a [...]
Heading to West Point
My name is Ryan O’Connell, and last year I was a 28 day camper. I saw that today is the check in day for the 28 day camp, so I wanted to write you and tell you that tomorrow I begin a similar challenge. I will board a plane and leave for Cadet Basic Training at the United States Military Academy in West Point. I am not nervous, but excited for the six weeks ahead of me because of the lessons I learned and the confidence I gained from your camp.
The 28 day camp was easily the most challenging period in my life. It became the focus of all of my college application essay when I returned home. I cannot thank you enough for that camp. That month gave me some of the best memories in my life, but more importantly, I learned the most important life lessons. Not only did I become a better wrestler, but I learned to embrace your J7: discipline, dedication, sacrifice, hard work, responsibility, accountability, and service.
I think what I am trying to get at is that your camp made me a better person, and because of it I know that I can succeed at basic training, in West Point, and as an Officer in the United States Army.
Remind the campers that they get out of that camp what they put into it, and that the lessons you learn at camp apply to so much more than wrestling. Thank you for all that you do, I don’t think I would be going where I am without your camp.
New Cadet Ryan M. O’Connell
West Point Class of 2019
I want to thank you for helping me to unlock my full potential. Your camp has brought me to the next level in my training and my wrestling career. At your camp I learned some of the more important values that I have been [...]
I want to thank you for helping me to unlock my full potential. Your camp has brought me to the next level in my training and my wrestling career. At your camp I learned some of the more important values that I have been able to carry from camp to my everyday life. I had one major goal and one minor goal coming into camp a year ago. My major goal was learning to train and wrestle at the equivalence of a division one athlete so that I could be recruited. My minor goal was to be the first Indiana state champion from my high school. I started off the season ranked number two in the state, but unfortunately I blew ligaments in my shoulder during tournament time. Although I kept competing, I lost at semi state in over time. Although my major goal was met, I wanted to be a division one wrestler. I realized my major goal was more important because before season had ended I was recognized for my hard work by 27 colleges over the course of a year. 4 of which were division one. As soon as season ended I had shoulder surgery and signed on to continue my next five years at Purdue University. I want to thank you for helping in making me into the man that I am today. I know that for years to come you will continue to better the lives of young men and help to bring out there best potential just as you did mine.
Black Hat winner
It’s hard to put the 28 days of intense training experience in words. The hard work and training helped our son prep for his freshman year of college at University of Northern Colorado – Go Bears! The training was in [...]
It’s hard to put the 28 days of intense training experience in words. The hard work and training helped our son prep for his freshman year of college at University of Northern Colorado – Go Bears! The training was intense and the coaching staff was tough but he loved every min of it (maybe not the swimming part). He will always remember the J Robinson Camp and being one of the Black Hat winners in which was a milestone for him. The Black Hat award he will always cherish.
“Be open to learning a lot but having the hard work ethic and confidence is the key!”
Thank you J Robinson!
K. & L. Grant
My son Jacob Thompson is a farm boy from Wyoming and participated in the J-Rob Ashland, Oregon, 14 day intensive camp in 2013 between his Freshman and Sophmore year. He had been wrestling since he was 8 but just hadn't [...]
My son Jacob Thompson is a farm boy from Wyoming and participated in the J-Rob Ashland, Oregon, 14 day intensive camp in 2013 between his Freshman and Sophmore year. He had been wrestling since he was 8 but just hadn't turned the corner from good to great on the wrestling mat yet. He wanted to go get something special and we had heard that this was the camp in the country to go too. Jacob has never been afraid of hard work and thrived in the J-ROB camp as they pushed him to both his physical and mental limits. He embraced the philosophy that whether he won or lost on the mat he would never be outworked. He won the Black Hat award and came home from camp changed, no longer a boy but a man that could face anything life threw his way. He believed he could do anything if he worked hard enough. He brought that philosophy into the wrestling room and helped lead his team over the next three years. Jacob dominated throughout the state going from being just a teammate as a freshman to being the #1 ranked wrestler at his weight in the State his sophomore, junior and senior season. Today Jacob continues to wrestle successfully at the College level and brings what he learned about work and leadership and effort into the wrestling room for his teammates to benefit from as well. His coaches all say he's the hardest working wrestler they've ever had. We attribute much of his success to what he gained at J-Rob camps. We look back fondly on his State Championship runs and he has two little brothers following in his footsteps that want to do the same thing. We expect they'll be in Ashland as soon as they are old enough. Thanks J-Rob for helping us make a man out of a boy. This camp is as much about life as it is about the sport of Wrestling!
Camper to Coach
Every year I send guys, they come back meaner, tougher, and more focused. I was a 3x JROB grad when I was in HS and it was one of the leading reasons for my success. Now as a coach, Coach Robinson's camps are my first re [...]
Camper to Coach
Every year I send guys, they come back meaner, tougher, and more focused. I was a 3x JROB grad when I was in HS and it was one of the leading reasons for my success. Now as a coach, Coach Robinson's camps are my first recommendation to all of my guys as the Gold Standard of summer camps. For two years I've sent you a group from my team and they always see results in thru the season. You have my thanks, and my promise as long as I'm coaching, J Robinson Intensive Camps will be my team's first choice of summer camps…Your camp helped me reach the state finals three years and win it twice. Since I started sending kids two years ago I've had a state placer every year and the number of my state qualifiers has improved as well. Even the attitude in the room has changed and the intensity level of training continues to improve.
Coach Ben Braasch
JROB helped my son place at state!
Thank you JROB!!! My son just began wrestling last year, as a freshman. As a newcomer competing against athletes with several years of experience, he knew he needed to go the extra mile in order to compete at their level [...]
JROB helped my son place at state!
Thank you JROB!!! My son just began wrestling last year, as a freshman. As a newcomer competing against athletes with several years of experience, he knew he needed to go the extra mile in order to compete at their level and to become the best possible wrestler he could. So he attended the 14 day intensive at Edinboro last year. I joked with him throughout the season that if he didn't make it to States, he would repay us for the camp. Guess what? We collected! With a medal from States! He finished the season as County Champ, District Champ, Region Champ and 6th at States! A little icing on the cake, the local paper made him Boys Prep Athlete of the Week. He also made friends at camp that he has communicated with throughout the year, and has followed along with several of them as they took a spot on the podium as well! At one point during the season, he hit a rough spot in the road. I told him, "you've got the physical part, now work on the mental". He said, "I've got the mental part, I learned that at JROB". I said, "then start using it!" He did! And well! After a great season, he is now more committed than ever. He is completely self motivated and beyond determined to reach the top! Thank you for helping to fuel his fire and for your role in getting him to the podium! I would highly recommend this camp!!!!
I just wanted to say thanks for putting on these camps. I did the 10 day camp in 2000 and reflect on my experiences there as an important life event for myself. I had a losing record all 4 years as a high school wrestler [...]
I just wanted to say thanks for putting on these camps. I did the 10 day camp in 2000 and reflect on my experiences there as an important life event for myself. I had a losing record all 4 years as a high school wrestler and wrestled 2 years of college in WI at the div 3 level and never won a single match. However I feel that this camp was an integral part of my process into manhood and the challenges I faced at camp have given me the confidence i have now. I now compete in triathlons as a 35 yr old and reflect on my experiences at camp as a cornerstone of my physical and mental barriers in training. Although I may not be the typical success story that led to a state qualifier, I am a much better person and adult for my experiences at jrob. Please continue this tradition of a rite of passage for young men. I hope to send my sons to camp someday as well.
2000 Iowa 10-Day Camp grad
I was a sophomore in high school and came off of a disappointing 6th place finish in the section tournament in 1996. That summer I made the decision to go to the J Robinson wrestling camp and that decision changed my wre [...]
I was a sophomore in high school and came off of a disappointing 6th place finish in the section tournament in 1996. That summer I made the decision to go to the J Robinson wrestling camp and that decision changed my wrestling life for the better. I wasn't getting the training or partners I needed in the high school wrestling room so I decided that I needed to challenge myself and man did I ever get that challenge at this wrestling camp. I went from 6th in the section tournament to 5th place in the state tournament that following year in 1997. Getting that "I Did It" t-shirt was the greatest accomplishment of my life at that time . I was so happy with how the camp had helped me that I was crazy enough to go back! This time I had my eyes set on the "Black Hat" and I pushed myself harder than ever. The "Black Hat" is the highest award you can receive at the camp for your wrestling group. Ultimately I was able to get the "Black Hat" and I was even more thrilled to have 2 time NCCA Champion Tim Hartung give it to me. It was a great honor and I teared up when I received it. My senior year I was able to make it to the semi finals of the state tournament against the number one wrestler in the country Luke Becker. I lost to Luke but was able to finish 4th place which was the highest finishing place in my school history for the modern era at that time. The hard work and skills I acquired from J Robinsons camp ultimately helped me to become a 2 time All American and a National champion at 165 pounds for Augsburg College. I was also able to accomplish 3 academic all American honors while in college which I attribute to the work ethic I learned from the camp and carried throughout the rest of my wrestling career and life. If you are a young wrestler that is serious about wrestling and about becoming the best wrestler you can be then I would highly recommend going to J Robinsons camp. The hard work ethic and wrestling skills you will acquire from the camp are priceless and you will also learn many life lessons that you will keep the rest of your life. I am truly happy that I made the decision to attend this camp and make myself a better person.
When my wife and I dropped off two boys at JRob Intensive Camp the first word we heard were "accountability and responsibility". It was then that we knew that our investment in the kids was a good one. Ty and AJ were a [...]
When my wife and I dropped off two boys at JRob Intensive Camp the first word we heard were "accountability and responsibility". It was then that we knew that our investment in the kids was a good one. Ty and AJ were already pretty good wrestlers Ty a PA state qualifier and AJ a projected freshman starter had wrestled since they were 4-5 years old. Both boys never missed practice nor ever wanted to they lived and loved to wrestle. As the week progressed and they called to check in we noticed a change in how they talked and their demeanor was different. They told us about the intensity of the sessions and the fact that they were tired was good news. Ty mentioned during that first phone call that he was going to try and win the "Black Hat " award and explained that it was simply given to the wrestlers that worked the hardest and displayed the willingness to go 100% one hundred percent of the time on and off the mat. Ty was an intense kid already that was the typical middle child...always trying to prove himself. My wife and I both have wrestling background. I wrestled in college and coaches for 15 years and she grew up a fan of the sport so we knew what it would take and how it would change him in this environment. The kids attending this camp and wrestling at this level were serious about the sport. This is why he went, not for technique, or to get in shape, but more importantly to change his culture and move the paradigm from a mental standpoint. Well, he ended up winning that Black Hat. It was a black corduroy hat w the camp logo on it. Nothing he would ever wear!!!! The other wrestler that won was Shebakka Johns.
Ty came home changed he ran the Pittsburgh Marathon, he planned his own workouts he wrestled in Fargo, placed in the PIAA State tourney and ended up accepting a scholarship to wrestle at the D1 level for The Citadel which is a Military Academy in South Carolina. He is now a junior with a great future ahead of him. He is a 2x all conference, 2x All Academy Champion. He will receive degrees in Business ( supply chain mgt) and another in Leadership. Of his many accomplishments that have made his whole family proud the only trophy or medal that he still displays is that old Black Hat. He will tell you it has changed him. It allowed him to become "accountable and responsible." Maybe forced him. Coincidentally Mr Johns who also won that Hat that year is a junior at The Virginia Military Institute. Both men will try to win a NCAA WRESTLING title in their last year. Can you see the trend? People ask me all the time how did Ty get to that level and what can I do as a parent to facilitate their success?? My answer has been the the same for many years. Force your athlete to become accountable and responsible, don't baby them, be sure they are having fun, but I always tell them send them to JRob Intensive Camp. It's a life changing experience that teaches them that beyond lifting, technique, conditioning, cutting weight, and all that makes wrestling the great sport it is if there is not ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY all the other stuff is what everyone else is already doing. It sets you apart from a mental attitude mindset on the mat and more importantly in life where the competition will only get stronger daily. We think we are pretty good parents that did not baby our kids with participation trophies and "snowflake" play dates. JRob Intensive, The Black Hat, were tools we could not provide as a parent.
Just a quick note to thank your staff of the 14 day PA camp. Alex certainly benefitted from the experience. The wrestling part was secondary. To successfully deal with the mental and physical exhaustion day in - day out [...]
Just a quick note to thank your staff of the 14 day PA camp. Alex certainly benefitted from the experience. The wrestling part was secondary. To successfully deal with the mental and physical exhaustion day in - day out was the true accomplishment. Great prep for college and frankly great prep for anything in life. And the Black Hat was a big deal, especially coming from a state (RI) comparatively unknown for wrestling. Thanks again!
Dear J, I am writing to thank you for the tremendous impact you have made on my life. I attended to your Intensive Camps in '85 and '86 at Edinboro Univ . I came to your camp because I wanted to be a great wrestler. A [...]
I am writing to thank you for the tremendous impact you have made on my life. I attended to your Intensive Camps in '85 and '86 at Edinboro Univ . I came to your camp because I wanted to be a great wrestler. Although I was able to make great improvements (going from being a sophomore who got the crap beaten out of me on nearly a daily basis to winning the regional championship and making the trip to the State Tournament), I was not able to accomplish my goal of becoming a State Champion. I guess at the time leading up to the State Tournament, it wasn't important enough to me, and I came up short of my goal.
After wrestling season in my senior year, I was offered a full scholarship to wrestle at the University of West Virginia. I was set on going there and continuing my wrestling career. During that summer following graduation, my dad got me a job at the company he was working for. I started out working there as a laborer at a landfill. I enjoyed the hard work and brought my "A-game" everyday. I worked those other guys under the table. The owner was sure as hell getting every bit of the $8.50 an hour he was paying me. I remember one day we were on our lunch break and the owner of the company pulled up. He was talking to the foreman for a bit, then he turned to my dad, pointed at me and said: "Do you have any more at home like him?". Now this was coming from a hard old guy who wouldn't compliment Megan Fox if she was standing next to him in a bikini! Everyone just sat there dumbfounded that this guy would say something like that. In my paycheck that Friday, I noticed my pay went up to $9.50. Felt great to know that I was different and my hard work was being noticed.
I was making some money and enjoying what I was doing. When the end of August rolled around, I decided to NOT go to college, and stay working at the landfill. I wanted to move up to be an equipment operator- dozers, backhoes, loaders, etc. I told my foreman about what I wanted to do, but the answer I would always get was "You need experience to do that - and you don't have any". So what I ended up doing was, at the end of the day when everybody else went home, I would stay on my own time, and hop on the equipment and just start digging in the fill borrow area. There were many times when I stayed there until dark, just trying to get as much seat-time as I could and trying to be the best equipment operator there was.
Because of politics in the company, there was really no way I was going to move up to where I wanted to be in the time-frame that I was wanting to, so I left that job and went to work for a local site development contractor. I told them that I had experience as an equipment operator, so they gave me a shot. Even though I was FAR from being a good equipment operator, I brought my "A-game" to work every day, and tried my best.
After about 6 months of watching my boss and the other workers, I started to think to myself: "If this guy can do this, why can't I?". I talked to my dad about starting our own business. At first he said I was crazy. But after a few months of relentless pressuring, I convinced my dad to quit his job and in January of 1990, we started a small excavating company. Our first year we did under a hundred thousand dollars in business.
Over the next few years, it became apparent that my father had no desire to grow the business much beyond where we started. I couldn't accept that. I remember you saying "If you're not moving forward
-you're falling behind." So I took the reins and began working toward what I believed could be done. Days, nights, weekends, holidays - whatever it took. People looked at me as if I was some sort of nut job - reminded me of how people looked at me when I got back from your camps and did the things I did to succeed in wrestling.
But it paid off. I've spent the last 20 years growing the company from where we started ( $100,000/yr, in revenue and 3 employees) to now, doing $30 million in annual revenue with over 130 employees.
Just like you said: "All the hard work you do will some day pay off.".
I remember back to when I gave 2 weeks-notice to my boss - that I was leaving and going to be starting my own excavating business. He just snickered and walked away. That was a LONG two weeks.
EVERYBODY that I was working with, told me I couldn't do it - that I was an idiot - that there was no way. They laughed at me for 2 straight weeks, but I stuck it out anyway. 25 years later..... a few of them work for me now . About three years ago, after the economy tanked, I received a resume on my desk from the guy that OWNED that company I used to work for. I just snickered.
Over the past years, I often listened to the tapes of your talks that I recorded when I was at camp. appreciate you sending me some updated ones a couple years ago when I misplaced the ones I brought home from camp. The points you make and the examples you give are motivating to me, and have many times allowed me to look differently at challenges and overcome them.
So I want to THANK YOU for having such a great camp and program - and for teaching me the things that you did and molding the core of person I am. I know that I would not be the person I am today, had I not attended your camps.
Beginning this summer, I am going to start sponsoring a kid each year from my local area to come to your camp. I want to help change the lives of some kids, and there is no better way I can think of to do exactly that.
It has been 6 weeks since we brought our wrestler home from the 28 day intensive camp. We picked him up bruised, broken, exhausted and proud. He had gotten the "I Did It" shirt. Time has healed most of the physical ailme [...]
It has been 6 weeks since we brought our wrestler home from the 28 day intensive camp. We picked him up bruised, broken, exhausted and proud. He had gotten the "I Did It" shirt. Time has healed most of the physical ailments, although shin splints are a tough customer. Cross country season is well underway. Last year he was almost always dead last. This year he runs varsity as a sophomore ...up there with the best, including his older brother, the co-captain of the team. He takes correction from us much better and is more respectful at home. He is kind to his nine year old brother for the first time in years. He has taught us , his parents, how to manage our finances better and guided us in how to invest our money. Yep, dad is reading The Richest Man in Babylon. Our parents never taught us that...but our 15 year old son has. We look forward to wrestling season to start, it is mom’s favorite sport to watch. We have great hopes for a better wrestling season for Luke after the 28 days, however, the changes we have seen are enough. His body is stronger, leaner, healthier. Luke's camp experience changed our entire family. It has brought the five of us closer to each other and taught all of us how truly important we are to one another. He plans on coming back to Minnesota again next year, and still keeps in touch with a couple of the guys he met in hell. Thank you to everyone on the 28 day staff, and especially J.
Dear Coach Robinson, My name is Dan Cook. I am a senior in high school at Ridgefield High in Connecticut. I attended your 28-day camp in the summer of 1999, and your 14-day camp last summer. I got to know you on a per [...]
Dear Coach Robinson,
My name is Dan Cook. I am a senior in high school at Ridgefield High in Connecticut. I attended your 28-day camp in the summer of 1999, and your 14-day camp last summer. I got to know you on a person level a little bit when I discussed with you about one of my team mates receiving an "I DID IT" shirt at Edinboro this past summer. I am not sure if you remember me, for I know that you meet many people every day, and even more while running camps, but you put me on your mailing list and told me that if I ever had questions or needed advice to write. Well the time has come where the advice I
seek cannot come from my high school coach, or from anyone else I know in the sport of wrestling other than you.
I am a senior and a second year captain at my high school in the 189lbs weight class. I plan on fulfilling my dream and wrestle at D1 college. My dream has always been to wrestle at a very competitive highly ranked DI college. I know that when I am put in a highly intensive, competitive situation, I explode. My level of wrestling goes up and up. This was first proven to me at your 28-day intensive camp. I never ever, not during one practice, just went through the motions. I heard an anonymous quote at the camp; "You always have two choices, two roads to take. One is easy, and its only reward is that it's easy." I looked at each practice that way: I could walk through everything.
Work hard only when coaches are looking, and probably get through without a negative. But I chose not to. I thought long and hard why I went to the camp and knew that it was for me and no one else. While we were running the mile the first night you said, "If you don't run hard you're only cheating yourself." I knew that was true and since it was I chose to get out of each practice what I could. Even though I made this decision, I still received a few negatives at the 28-day camp. But each time that I received one, I learned some priceless knowledge. That knowledge was that I could work harder. That I may not be able to do 1000 pushups in a row right now, but I could do 1000 push-ups. It may take me all day, but I know I could do it today. Knowing this helped me work to not receiving a single negative at the 14-day camp this past summer.
I love and want this environment which forces me to take one of these two, roads. I remember going into each practice no matter at what camp or team I am at and looking to wrestle the best kid there. I didn't want someone who I could beat, or someone who I could hang with. I wanted someone who would kick the crap out of me. For then when I was getting my ass handed to me, I would reach a wall, and then I would break through it. I went into each practice looking for a wall that I could break through. It is what I love most about wrestling.
My dilemma, which I need your advice on, is that I have not reached that wall wrestling since this high school season started. I reach a new wall each day when I'm running or lifting weights, but not in the wrestling room. It has come to a point to where the season started 2 weeks ago and still no one on my team has scored a point on me unless it was through me allowing them an escape. I wrestle everyone on my team and even my co-captain, who only weighs 15lbs less then I do, doesn't cost me to get out of wind. So I started to wrestle my 260lbs coach before, during, and after my practice. It took more effort then my teammates, but I still beat him consistently. I want to fulfill my dream, and I know I can and will. But I feel like during my senior year, a year that I can advance myself greatly, I am not advancing forward the way I was at your camp or at fall wrestling clinics. The competition in Connecticut is not very high compared to the rest of the nation, however I cannot breeze my way to a state championship or to a New England championship as easily as I beat the best wrestlers on my team. I also feel as though each day that I miss out on reaching a new wall wrestling; I slowly move down the level of D1 College I want to wrestle at. I work out all the time trying to make up for it. Before school I run and lift, during my free periods and lunches I ride the stationary bike and lift more , and after practice I run, and I do this most every day. But conditioning can only take you so far when it comes to the physical part of wrestling. I feel as though my technique is not being pµshed during practice. I talked my coach into having top teams in the state come and practice with us, but that can happen only so often. I feel stuck. I don't know what to do to test my technique and to push myself on the wrestling mat when I have no problem breezing through my team.
I love wrestling. My one strong trait has been heart. Heart has gotten me a lot of places wrestling. It has caused me to want to win so bad that I spend hours a day training by myself for one six minuet match, in hopes of a win. During the match I push myself harder then my opponent because I know I want it more, I know I've worked harder than he has for it, and because I want to win more. When someone says there exhausted after a run or during practice, I always chuckled to myself because I knew that they had no idea what it is like to be truly exhausted. Every day I reach the point where I don't think I can go further; then I go further. Very few people really know what I mean by that.
.With this outlook on wrestling I found myself very frustrated to be in the situation that I am in. I need to know your advice, because whenever I encountered an obstacle in wrestling or life where I had two choices to make, I know it was because of you, that I did not choose the easy path.
I very much appreciate your time to read this letter. Because wrestling means so much to me, so does this letter. I would very much appreciate any advice or words of wisdom you may have for me. Thank you again.
A change in attitude
Our son attended your 28 day intensive camp in 2009 and was a rising junior at the time. He wanted to be the best so he wanted to attend the best. Immediately upon his return home, we noticed a difference in his attitu [...]
A change in attitude
Our son attended your 28 day intensive camp in 2009 and was a rising junior at the time. He wanted to be the best so he wanted to attend the best.
Immediately upon his return home, we noticed a difference in his attitude, leadership and workout ethics. After placing 3rd in State in 2010, although happy with his finish, he was not satisfied and told us he needed to take it up a notch if he wanted to win states his senior year.
That is when the 3-4 a day workouts began. We figured once school started in August 2010 things would change. They did, but not what we expected. That is when the 5:30 a.m. workouts began at our local sports center, weight lifting class at school, 2 hour wrestling practice after school and then one more workout at the sports center before he retired for the night around 9:30. The workouts didn’t stop on the weekends either. It was not unusual for him and his Dad to run anywhere from 8 to 13 miles on Sundays. This workout routine continued week in and week out.
We are proud to inform you that our son won the 2011 North Carolina State Wrestling Championship. The lesson our son learned from attending your 28 day intensive wrestling camp is that hard work, sacrifice and determination will get you anywhere you want to go. We are so proud of him.
All my life I have wanted to be a championship wrestler, My father wrestled and stayed involved in thesport after high school graduation, passing his love of the sport on to me. From the time I was born my parents took [...]
All my life I have wanted to be a championship wrestler, My father wrestled and stayed involved in thesport after high school graduation, passing his love of the
sport on to me. From the time I was born my parents took me to youth, high school and college wrestling activities. I always pictured myself wrestling at the next level. While in youth, I dreamed of high school, while in high school, I dream of college. I now believe my dream could become a reality. It is hard for others to imagine, but there was a time where I wasn't sure I was quite good enough to win the next match. My confidence and self esteem were very low.
No matter how hard I worked, how hard I trained, or how many matches I won, I was never entirely sure I had what it took to beat my opponent.
The other wrestler always looked bigger, stronger, or knew more moves than I.
Physically, I was prepared. I had all the tools to succeed. I had won numerous tournaments, state championships, even a national championship, and still I was full of doubt. I knew to realize my dream for the future I had to address the mental aspect of the sport as well as the physical.
As I paged through USA wrestler magazine an ad for J Robinson 28 Day Intensive camp caught my attention. I approached my parents with the idea and they were behind me 100%. Over the years they had recognized my mental weakness and tried to help as much as they could. They realized this was what we were looking for. At 15, between my freshman and sophomore years, I spent the month of July in Minneapolis at the J. Robinson Wrestling Camp. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision the camp to be anything like it was. The expectations to graduate were very high. My goal was just to graduate, not to stand out, or make a name for myself, just graduate. Four sessions a day, every day, starting at 6 a.m., ending at 9:30 p.m. A 15 mile marathon, running sessions, conditioning sessions and motivational sessions, all intense. Absolutely no slacking tolerated. Our counselors were elite college wrestlers and very successful coaches. Every person involved with the camp
believed in himself and saw no reason we should not do the same. After spending 24 hours a day, for 28 days their attitudes and beliefs became mine. I felt I could handle any challenge they put forth, I not only could survive this camp, I could graduate.
I started to give 100% and not worry if I was good enough, strong enough, if I could stand the next challenge. I realized I could do things I never thought I could. If I tried hard enough, never gave up and believed in myself, I was capable of anything. My wrestling improved, I received positive points for hard work. When I received the positives I knew I was making progress and my confidence increased. By the end of the camp I no longer feared a challenge, I feared no "tough" opponents, I faced each challenge as an opportunity. An opportunity to improve and prove to myself I was good enough. In my high school wrestling I have lost the fear of failure, if I lose it’s not because I didn’t give 100% or because I didn't believe in myself. I can forgive myself, learn from my mistakes, and move on ·to the next match. Although this was a wrestling camp I feel the lesson … anything is possible if you try hard enough and believe in yourself . . will carry over into everything I do for the rest of my life.
Dear Mr. J Robinson and Camp Staff, Yesterday, I noticed your letter in my son's room and read about how some of your campers were doing this year. I know my son, Dustin Cichocki, (Bay City Western High School, Bay Ci [...]
Dear Mr. J Robinson and Camp Staff,
Yesterday, I noticed your letter in my son's room and read about how some of your campers were doing this year. I know my son, Dustin Cichocki, (Bay City Western High School, Bay City, MI, attended the Edinboro camp session this summer) would never write and tell you, but I would like to let you know about his season and how much we feel your outstanding camp helped in his success. I also believe if you keep his story in the back of your mind, that at some time you may run across other wrestlers who would benefit from Dustin's story.
Let me start by saying Dustin's record for his Senior year is now 48 wins and 1 loss and for several weeks he has been rated number 1 in the state of Michigan at 145 pounds. As we prepare to enter individual districts, we have no idea what may happen, but at this point I can tell you how he got where he is now and the important role that your camp played in this.
Dustin did not start wrestling until he was a Freshman at Bay City Western. Because of circumstances, he was immediately put on Varsity and went to Team State's that year. At that point, he did have wins and losses and a love for wrestling, but sometimes his role was just not to get pinned to help the team. In his Sophomore year he improved with his hard work and camps at U of M and Michigan State and again went to Team State's.
Unfortunately, his Junior year was a very bad year. The head coach really had a dream team in his mind to take and win Team State's so that he could retire. In his mind, Dustin was his 124 pounder (MI had changed weights for one year). At 132 pounds, the coach had placed his favorite Senior. Sadly, Dustin had a growth spurt and the reality was he could barely make 132 pounds, either. The coach could just not accept this because he so badly wanted Dustin at 124 pounds. The coach lost perspective and also the essence of wrestling. He would not allow Dustin to challenge at 132 and said he had to make 124 or quit wrestling, nor would he let him wrestle at Varsity B. Consequently, Dustin wrestled with wins when the team bumped up or at tournaments with home weigh-ins, but could not wrestle other times. It was an unfair and unethical situation. The assistant coaches could see this, the parents could see this, the school could see this, but the coach could not. Actually, we could have had a stronger team if the 132 would have cut down to 124 (he was much smaller and did not have to diet at all to maintain 132), but he refused. Of course, there are many details, but the bottom line was that Dustin and the team suffered. Our team was not as strong and never did make it through Regionals. The coach also would not allow Dustin to piggy back tln·ough individuals at 132 pounds because he felt Dustin could try harder to be 124, so he never had that opportunity either. Through it all Dustin never missed a practice or stopped loving to wrestle, but he was very angry about how he had been treated.
As a result of the briefly outlined situation above, March came and Dustin was nowhere near ready to be taking a break from wrestling. This is where the triangle of Dustin's success this year started. The three points of the triangle are:
1. Tom Olson ( an ex-wrestler and previous assistant coach at the University of New Mexico, a great assistant coach who believed in Dustin)
2. The J Robinson Camp and Philosophies
3. Dustin's hard work and love of wrestling
Tom Olson, the assistant coach at Bay City Western immediately started working with Dustin every day and wrestling with him. All summer long Tom met Dustin 6 days a week at our high school (15 minutes from our home) at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. to lift and wrestle. This was a real committment for Dustin and for Tom, a teacher/coach who might have wanted to sleep in. In the spring, even David Dean ( assistant wrestling coach at MSU and someone we lived by when Dustin was young) knowing a bit about the situation, played a part in having Dustin get some wrestling work-outs with him.
When other team members were sick of wrestling and practices, Dustin was still going at it every day wherever he could, sometimes even driving an hour and a half. Tom picked Dustin up when he was mentally down and channelled his potential and love of wrestling.
Your camp was outstanding for Dustin. He loved it all - the time, the commitment, the hard work, the mental challenge. He absorbed it like a sponge and is using all that you taught him. We could not recommend your camp enough to people. It is not for every wrestler, but for the wrestler that wants to set and attain high goals, it is the best, in our opinion. We will be always grateful, not just for what you gave Dustin to be a better wrestler, but the mental tools and philosophies that have and will continue to make him a better man.
As always, the Bay City Western Wrestling Team goes all over the state of Michigan seeking out the hardest competition. With your help, Tom's help and Dustin himself, he is having an outstanding season while wrestling some of the best kids in the state. Some highlights have been taking lsts at the Temperance Bedford Tournament, the Goodrich Tournament, the Holt Tournament, the New Lothrop Tournament, County Champion, Valley League Champion and his best was on January 20th in Adrian. Dustin beat Brandon Cheshire, a 3 time State Champion from Adrian. Brandon was having a very good day and Barre from U of M was there to see him, but Dustin did win and won fairly. At that time, Dustin became rated #1 in the State. Dustin's only loss was the 1st match of the season and he seemed to suffer from stage-fright. We aren't even sure that he actually wrestled. He kind of froze, almost like he had worked for months for that moment and all of a sudden it was there. He was devastated for a few minutes after the loss and then remembered his camp experience and went on to win throughout the rest of the day and ever since. Through all of this, Dustin has accepted his wins very quietly and humbly.
He is very lowed-key about his wins and doesn't even want the number I rating at all.
He could never be found guilty of bragging or being cocky. He prepares for each match wrestling at 145 pounds and also often at 152 pounds for team matches and takes nothing for granted. I know many of his intense strategies for focus came from all of you. In fact, he was so quiet, I finally asked him if meeting all of these goals wasn't exciting or important to him. He told me they are important, but they are only steps to his final goal and that he is not done yet. Along the way, he has also had to endure pain as he has struggled with a hematoma on his ear since November that has been repeatedly drained and casted and is painful, a nose that is broke in three places and even a slightly hyper extended elbow, but he has refused to stop wrestling or practicing. We have allowed him to make the choice when we sometimes wish he would rest, because we know how focused he is.
Whatever happens from here on out will depend on Dustin, his health, the refs and even luck plays a part, but we will always know that he reached many, many goals. We will always remember the incredulous looks that the Adrian people gave when after their guy lost to Dustin in their gym and they wanted to know where Dustin placed at States last year and we said he wasn't even there. We will always remember the role that your camp played to help Dustin become the person and the wrestler that we live with. Dustin had the ambition, the drive, the guts and the love, but you all, along with his assistant coach helped him to achieve his goals.
I hope you will remember this story so that when you run across another wrestler with a lot of heart like Dustin who was involved in a bad situation, you can tell him that you can come from way below and end up way on top with lots of hard work, a mentor and a camp like yours. Dustin would be mortified ifhe knew I wrote his personal story to you, but maybe some other kid will need an incentive someday. Believe and achieve and we thank you again for your help.
Roche and Linda LaVictor
- Parents of 1995 camper Dustin Cichocki, Michigan