During the summer, Leesville Road High School gives kids who are not yet in high school an opportunity to explore different sports and practice them with varsity and Junior Varsity athletes. The Pride Athletic club sponsors this camp for kids ages 6-15. They are coached by the Leesville Road High school coaches, and allow varsity athletes to volunteer to help. It gives these high school students a way to gain leadership experience.
“Another reason why these camps were started was for funding reasons,” said Coach Rogers, the athletic director. “The coaches only get paid during their seasons, so it was like a ‘thank you’ to them by giving them pay over the summer. The camps were also started as funding for the Pride Athletic Club.”
The sports played at this camp include cheerleading, baseball, boys and girls basketball, tennis, boys and girls soccer, football, softball, and volleyball. Each sport is held during a different week for either a full or half day. These camps are geared towards kids who are not yet in high school but want to get better at the sport they play.
Before summer starts, high school athletes are invited by their coaches via e-mail to help with the camps. They are asked to be “volunteers’’ , coach the kids, and teach them more about the sport that they’re interested in.
“You have to have experience with the sport you play in order to teach it to someone else,” says Kati Stammen, a sophomore. “So, if you haven’t played a certain sport before it’s probably not a good idea to volunteer.”
If kids are interested in attending this camp, they need to register for their specific sport by May 1. Each kid is directed to bring a “water bottle, lunch, and snacks”. Some sports have guest speakers that will come to talk to the players, including girl’s basketball.
Tiffany Weaver, JV cheerleading coach, helps with the cheer camps over the summer. “With cheerleading, it’s usually the graduating and rising seniors that are asked to help with the camp. Mrs. Duckett, the varsity coach, tells them what she wants accomplished each day and the athletes do most of the hands-on coaching,” she said.
When asked if the athletes had any type of “advantage” by volunteering at the camp, the reply was, “Of course not. Everyone has a fair shot at making the team.”
Thalia Saint-Lot, senior, has volunteered at the volleyball camp in previous years. A varsity player of three and a half years, she has had three years of experience with the summer PAC sports camps. With volleyball, both varsity and junior varsity players can help out.
“It’s really hands on. It really is the players’ job to do most of the coaching. The actual coach tells us what skills he wants us to work on with the kids the next day, and we come up with warm-ups and drills,” says Saint-Lot. “The last two days of camp we split the kids in to teams and have a big tournament. Last year was our biggest camp, we had about 130 kids that went.”
Cheerleading also gives kids an opportunity to show the parents what they have done during their week at camp. “We work on a routine all week to preform at the end of the week. There’s always a parent day, so that they can see the final product of what their children have accomplished,” says Mrs. Weaver.
It is a good learning experience for both the campers and the participants.
“When you teach kids like that, who are younger, they really look up to you,” says Saint-Lot. “It’s a really great feeling.”