COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Muscogee Roller Girls are ready to share their skills. Locals looking to try something new or improve their roller-skating skills can consider the Roller Girls’ 10-week summer bootcamp. The camp, which will begin on June 11 with an open-to-all information session, about joining the league in skating and non-skating positions.

Laura Jordan, the Roller Girls’ public relations and marketing chair, explained the bootcamp is extremely important for to upkeep the league’s membership.

“We have aspirations of getting the league to the real competition, basically, that it was pre-COVID,” Jordan said. She added the league is skater-run, meaning all announcers, security, medical staff, photographers and more are unpaid volunteers.

On top of being a recruiting resource, Jordan explained the camp showcases the fact there is more to roller derby than “girls hitting each other.”

“You know, it’s not just about hitting and playing roller derby,” Jordan said, “It’s the whole family that is required to keep the league running.”

Jordan, who is also the Roller Girls’ interleague coordinator, noted the bootcamp gives attendees a chance to see if they are interested in the sport by offering a month of camp for free. Campers can see if they want to continue in roller derby as a skater, non-skating official or skating referee.

She added the bootcamp is a family-friendly and non-judgmental opportunity to try joining the team.

“Everybody has been new at this at one time…we’ve all been there, we’ve all had that weird, awkward practice where we had walked in and didn’t know anybody,” said Jordan, highlighting the camp is open to all skill levels. She added there is $5 childcare available at every practice and the team provides an opportunity to make friends and prioritize personal goals.

Even those who have never skated before are invited to participate in the bootcamp, which will focus on teaching basic skating skills, roller derby rules how to become a member of the Roller Girls. For those without gear, the Roller Girls have a limited supply of loaner gear.

According to Jordan, however, it is never too early to start buying personal gear once someone knows they want to play roller derby. She said purchases can run from roughly $150 to $400 in total, depending on factors like if the equipment is new or used.

“Anybody that has their own gear has the advantage of doing stuff on their own time outside of practice,” Jordan said.

Bootcamp attendees are also required to buy their own mouthguards to participate. Jordan said mouthguards are especially important for preventing concussions on the track. She noted she has seen injuries affecting wrists, shoulders, ACLs, tibias and more because roller derby is an “athletic sport.”

A 2017 case study from the National Library of Medicine reported 79% of Kansas City flat track roller derby participants interviewed had sustained an injury in the sport. Another study, published in 2020 noted there is evidence wearing a mouthguard can offer some protection from sports-related concussions.

After the first month of camp, the Roller Girls require a $35 monthly membership fee and the purchase of a $75 annual insurance plan from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

The interest meeting for bootcamp will run from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 11. Interested parties can register with the Roller Girls via their website or social media.