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   FiberBenders  "School of Flight"  Where CHAMPIONS are SHAPED and SHARPENED   Year Around... DAY by DAY...  SINCE 1985   

 


Fiberbenders POLE VAULT History "Fiberbenders", as it is now, was born in 1985 when current Director Lance Atkins met Jan Johnson (1972 Olympic Bronze PV medalist) at a sporting goods convention in Dallas TX. Atkins, who was coaching T&F at his HS alma mater, Oley Valley HS in PA. He and Johnson talked about the state of pole vaulting in the USA and both agreed the PV community needed more education for it to be better. Johnson had been doing camps for a few years in CA (his home state), but wanted to branch out and reach more kids. Johnson laid out his plan to Atkins and both agreed to pursue the project of starting a camp in the northeast region. At that moment, what would eventually be "SKYJUMPERS" (several years later), was born. In those days there was very few camps of any kind, NO video tapes, DVD's, and NO women pole vaulters. Atkins remembers distinctly when he contacted Kutztown Univ. about being a host site for this camp, they said... "what!" It was a foreign concept at that point. Now camps are everywhere and involve everything from A to Z. We were breaking new ground in the sports specialty field. It wasn't easy at first, but it gradually grew and high school coaches soon embraced the concept, as they began to see the results of the concept... their vaulters got better. SKYJUMPERS operated out of the Kutztown Univ campus from 1985 until 1991. In 1992 Atkins purchased the property that currently houses the Fiberbenders Camps and Clinics. Located on 6 beautiful acres with streams flowing thru it, is located just outside Reading PA which is just minutes away from the PA Turnpike and 2.5 hours from NYC and Washington DC and 1.5 hrs from Baltimore MD and Philadelphia PA. ATKINS wanted to have a more permanent facility. The Kutztown situation required "setting up and breaking down" year after year. The situation was tiring and didn't lend itself to building pole vault only facility, which is what Atkins wanted. In 1992, Johnson and Atkins, promoted girls vaulting and invited girls to participate in the camps and had 3 girls that year. Year after year that number grew and then finally in 1995 the National High School Federation permitted girls to participate in high school competitions, although it took many more years after that for the states to adopt girls as "official" competitions (ie: MD 1996, PA 1998, NJ 2001). Now we take it for granted as girls now compete in every state in the country. FIBERBENDERS was spawned back in the late 1980's as a travel team of pole vaulters Atkins trained throughout the year. When Johnson and Atkins severed there partnership of 11 years in 1996, Atkins changed the name of his future camps and clinics to "Fiberbenders", a name which was invented by PA All-Time state record holder... Mason Ternay. The FIBERBENDERS / SKYJUMPERS spawning have helped thousands of vaulters in the northeast region which include 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist, Lawrence Johnson, NJ All-State Record Holder Adam Sarafian, Penn Relays Record holders Braxton Davenport and Joe Berry (current), and countless numbers of national, state, regional, district, and county champions and medalists and record holders. We continue to strive, to improve our facility and methodologies, of training for the pole vault as we strive, to acclimate to the changing times, by constantly adding and improving, what we have to offer. Thanks to all who have helped and supported our program. We couldn't do it without you! Lance Atkins, Director