Posts Tagged ‘sports camps’

Popular Sports at Camp

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

There is a decided difference between popular school sports and popular camp sports. Most schools throughout the nation focus on key sports like football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. At summer camps, campers have much more exposure to non-traditional sports that receive decidedly less promotion through school but prove rather popular at camp, in spite of—or perhaps because of —the fact that they are not widely promoted in school environments.

Tennis is a sport to which most children are exposed for only a few weeks of physical education class each year. At camp, however, it’s one of the most popular and beloved activities. Campers have the opportunity to play several hours of tennis each week on quality courts and even participate in intra and inter camp league play. Furthermore, the instruction is excellent. Many summer camp tennis directors are former tennis pros who have played at the elite level in premiere tennis competitions.

Lacrosse, although popular in New England and other pockets of the Eastern United States, is not widely played in many regions of the country. Yet, it’s one of the most popular camp sports. Many summer camps offer extensive and ever growing (by popular demand) lacrosse programs. Most camp lacrosse specialists play at the college level and many lacrosse heads coach at the college level.  Campers who hail from geographic regions in which lacrosse is still an underdog sport have the opportunity to receive valuable, quality instruction that surpasses anything available where they live. In fact, many of these campers play lacrosse for the first time while at summer camp and discover a new favorite sport.

For children who love water, boating is another popular camp activity to which most campers receive little to no exposure during the school year. Camp waterfronts are a crucial part of camps, and campers spend a lot of time in or on the water at camp. To sweeten the pot, summer camps make various types of boats available so that campers can try their hand at canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and even stand-up paddle boarding. Waterskiing is another popular water sport on which many camps place a particular focus. Campers have the opportunity to waterski throughout the summer, and some of the most enthusiastic camper responses every summer are those of campers who get up on water skis for the first time.

Animal loving campers adore camp equestrian programs. Campers who live in urban environments and have minimal exposure to animals throughout most of the year enjoy learning to care for and ride horses. The experience is doubly beneficial when the fact that equestrian programs are virtually non-existent at the majority of schools is taken into consideration.

Campers race to suit up for roller hockey. It’s an action packed and fast paced sport that is fun to play and a key activity in many camp programs. Not only do a lot of campers embrace an otherwise unfamiliar sport in roller hockey, they learn how to skate as well!

Archery. Most schools don’t offer archery, even as part of a physical education program. But it’s a regular part of camp, and pretty much every camper who takes aim at the bulls-eye throughout the summer will tell you that it’s a fun one.

Golf. Yep, many camps offer golf instruction as well. Campers love to relax while driving balls and working on their strokes. They also like that golf is a sport in which it is relatively easy to measure one’s level of improvement throughout the summer.

Gaga is practically synonymous with camp. It’s serious business there, and it can get intense. Gaga is  practically unheard of outside of the camp realm. Still, ask virtually any summer camper to list their top five favorite activities at camp, and chances are that gaga will appear somewhere on that list.

Many a camper engages in what will become a favorite sport at camp for the first time. Perhaps it’s because some sports are a rare treat that, if it wasn’t for sleepaway camp, campers know they would never get to experience and, therefore, are eager to embrace. It can also be that campers find the newness of such sports refreshing in respect to the typical repertoire of school sports. Either way, summer camp is an excellent way for campers to receive exposure to and quality instruction in sports that may not be so popular at school but prove very popular at camp.

Seven Summers

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Most children step off the bus and get their first glance of summer camp as eager, excited, and slightly nervous seven or eight year olds. It’s their first time away from home and they’re not quite sure what to expect. Few register those first moments as the first of a seven year adventure. It’s just the first summer, after all. Even parents sometimes forget that summer camp isn’t just one summer and, in that regard, is much more than a campus. It is a place where children grow up, and it should be a place where campers are every bit as enthusiastic about stepping off the bus their seventh year as they are their first. It should be a place where they feel an integral part of something larger.

Relationships form early at camp. The friends campers make their first year are often their closest throughout their camp careers. The adrenaline filled first meeting is the beginning of several years in the making. But the accepting environment of camp that encourages children to try new things also facilitates the promise of new friendships each summer. What campers learn as they progress through summers is that at “their camp,” no two summers are quite the same.

There is always the element of the unexpected at camp. Anticipation throughout the winter to return to camp is driven by the mystery of how the next summer will be different than the last. The ability to envision the campus as pretty much the same way they left it (with maybe a few upgrades or improvements) eliminates the element of fear in change for children. The stability of the campus itself makes change something to which campers can look forward. Boating docks, dining halls and arts and crafts studios become favorite spots as the settings of memories from summer to summer. Although they are the same places they were the summer before, the memories campers associate with them make them slightly different.

That first exploratory summer, young campers are also able to observe and begin to anticipate the various rites that occur as they age. They look forward each summer to special trips and activities that are exclusive to their second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh summer. In the end, summer camp isn’t a singular experience. It’s the sum total of many summers and a culmination of friends, activities, traditions and memories that builds from that first welcome on the first day of camp that first summer.

20 Really Awesome Things You Can Do in One Summer at Camp Weequahic That You (Probably ) Can’t Do in One Summer at Home

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

1.) Jump on a Water Trampoline

2.) Ride a Zipline

3.) Paint Your Face a Different Color

4.) Make Something Cool in Arts & Crafts

5.) Take Part in an Apache Relay

6.) Learn a Balance Beam Routine

7.) Host a Radio Show

8.) Climb One of These

9.) Perform a Musical Number

10.) Perform in a Musical

11.) Have a Sleepover with Your Friends Every Night

11.) Sing Songs and Eat S'Mores around a Campfire

13.) Try a New Sport

14.) Go Fishing...

15.) And Horseback Riding...

16.) ...And Skateboarding in a Skatepark

17.) Learn to Waterski

18.) Climb a Wall

19.) Build a Rocket

20.) Build a Robot

Camp through the Eyes of an Athletic Director

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Hi, I’m the camp Athletic Director!

I love my role at camp because in the course of a day, I come into contact with virtually everyone at camp at some point.  I started out at camp as a sports head.  I loved keeping my individual area organized—working with the campers and my staff and maintaining my facilities—so well that I wanted to be more involved.  So I started helping out with inter and intra-camp leagues as well as leading any evening or special activities that involved not just my program area, but virtually anything that had to with sports.  That’s how I eventually became the one responsible for keeping my camp’s entire sports program running smoothly.

My day begins early—sometimes as early as 6:00 a.m.  I’m responsible for seeing off all of the teams heading out to play inter-camp league games.  I make sure we stay on schedule by insuring all of the coaches and their teams make it onto the bus or to the field on time.   If a team is scheduled to be out of camp during any meals, I run by the kitchen to make sure their breakfasts or lunches are ready and, if they haven’t been already, transported to the bus.  I also double check to make sure teams have all necessary sporting equipment, rosters, and, medical forms.  On those rare days when the weather is less than perfect, I also communicate with other camp Athletic Directors about the status of scheduled matches.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes games have to be rescheduled.

During the day, I make my rounds to all of sporting areas. I review lesson plans and make sure instruction is adhering to them. I enjoy watching each and every group for a bit.  It’s fun to see the progress of the campers over time.  While I’m there, I’ll check in with the Area Head and Specialists to see if there are any issues that might be impacting the activity that I haven’t directly observed myself.  It’s also a good time for me to give staff members a pep talk by applauding what I think is working and offering some pointers for improving some things.  I might also take some time to schedule league matches with other camps or oversee intra-league play.  At some point each day, I’ll also check-in with coaches to get scores and report updated records for all of the athletic teams to the directors.  During that time, I’ll also communicate any maintenance and facility issues or equipment needs to directors or program director.

In the evenings, I’ll usually help out in whatever way I can with the camp’s special activities.  While sometimes this actually involves something directly related to athletics, the majority of the time, it does not.  A lot of times, I find myself judging contests or dressed in some crazy costume doing something goofy on stage during one of the camp’s shows.  It’s all part of working at a summer camp, and those are some of my favorite moments.  I’m usually pretty exhausted by the time my head hits the pillow at night, but I can’t wait until the next morning so that I wake up and do it all over again!  That’s why I love working at camp!

Creating at Camp Weequahic

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

In a summer at Camp Weequahic, campers get dusty, muddy, covered in paint, and clothed in wonder… and that is just in the creative arts programs!

We are thrilled to offer campers interested in exploring the creative side of life many great outlets for their imaginative inclinations. Whether building in the woodshop, shaping in our pottery barn, or painting, drawing, and crafting in our arts studio, our campers tap into the creative side of things on a daily basis.

And the creative programs at Weequahic don’t just end there! Campers use their heads and hands while building new motorized contraptions in Robotics, create and stylw rockets that blast off daily in Rocketry, perform on stage in Theater, produce a weekly NewsWeeq, and jam on guitar, keyboards, and drums in Music!

For Summer 2012, we’re excited about expanding all of these programs and we’ll be introducing something new to Weequahic as well: Fashion Design!

Many families ask, “How many kids are at Weequahic only for sports or only for the arts?” The answer is about one third of the campers only want athletics and the lake activities. Another third only want the creative side of things and the lake activities. The remaining third are just as likely to be in the Theater and Woodshop as they are on the soccer team and tennis courts. That said, many of our ‘sporty’ kids wind up choosing a creative arts activity because they are a ton of fun.

So, come to Weequahic to create. We promise you’ll get dirty and have fun while doing it!