Summer’s here. School’s out. Time to hit the beach, golf course, water parks and...Summer camps.
Over the years summer camps have steadily grown in popularity. Now, whatever the activity, there’s a camp out there for youngsters from pre-kindergarten through high school.
Sports camps, in particular, have steadily been on the rise. And whether for fun or to enhance a skill, spending a little time at a camp has become a favorite pasttime for athletes and would-be athletes.
"Camps provide a constructive way for kids to stay active and learn new fundamentals for various sports, while at the same time, they are fun for the participants," said Scott Drillette, Brock athletic director/assistant superintendent .
"It’s easy for some kids to get bored or maybe lazy during the summer, but sports camps provide a great alternative to that."
Richard Scoggins, Weatherford ISD Executive Director of Athletics, said camps are good for the community.
"Camps allow parents an avenue to keep kids active and involved during the summer break while receiving meaningful instruction in athletic areas that their children are interested in," he said.
"It’s different being a kid today than it was when we were young," said Aledo football coach Steve Wood. "There are a lot of alternatives to physical activity, TV, computers, video games, internet, etc.
"I believe some parents use these camps as a way to get their kids active. It also gets the kids to experience the various sports, and to get an idea of the expectations. I think they are very positive for the community."
And yes, coaches do look to the camps for possible talent coming their way at the junior high and high school level. Who knows? The next Johnathan Gray may be regisgtering for a camp or two this summer.
"Coaches like to utilize camps to build excitement for their program. Yes, camps do provide the opportunity to see potential future talent for teams," said Scoggin.
"I think coaches see camps as a way to help youth, while at the same time a way to promote their own programs," said Drillette. "Of course, coaches get the chance to see the kids that will be coming up through the system. However, it’s always amazing how much that talent changes over the years.
"Every year, we see kids who weren’t very talented when they were elementary age become big contributors on our varsity teams. You really never really know who is going to mature into a great player."
Though not through camps alone, youths can use camps to help them grow into certain sports – or even a variety of sports, if that is their choice. And though camps are generally designed to teach more than compete, there is competition within, and it can help prepare a youngster for even higher levels.
"Any time you are able to compete against your peers or fellow competitors it enhances the competitive nature of the athlete," said Scoggin. "The camp is never the same as a game, but the drills and competitions provided during camps allow the athletes to compete in different ways."
And while they are fun, they can also be hard work, said Wood.
"I would be disappointed if a kid didn’t come home exhausted after attending one of our camps," he said. "I do believe the best camp we have is our strength and conditioning camp. If your body isn’t developed to your full potential and you are not in great condition, than skill level doesn’t really matter."
Put it all together, and it can make for a fun and fulfilling summer experience for a youngster. Most of all, if a participant had fun, learned something, and feels a little better about themselves, it was a successful camp for all.
"Coaches should always make an effort to be sure the kids leave feeling good about themselves," said Wood.
"The most important thing about camps is to foster the growth of each participant and their enjoyment of the sport," said Drillette.
"The whole purpose is to make each kid feel good about the experience and want to continue to grow and develop in that activity."
To find out more about camps at your school, visit the school district’s web site.