Amber Gilliland, Senior Reporter
The Raider volleyball team is serving up some changes to their annual summer youth camp.
The camp was previously one camp for interested players. This summer, the volleyball team will be hosting two different camps divided by age.
The first camp, the Raider Advanced Volleyball Skills Camp, is for girls ages 14 and up. It’ll be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., July 11-14. The event is limited to 60 campers and requires a $100 registration fee per person. If spaces are still available the day of the camp, the registration price increases to $110.
The second camp is the Raider Youth Volleyball Skills Clinic. This camp, held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 16, is open to boys and girls ages eight to 13. Thirty spaces are available and registration is $35 per camper. The price increases to $40 the day of the camp.
Both camps will be held in the Health Education Center at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.
The camp is being split into two separate events this year in order to give more specialized support to the participants, Women’s Head Volleyball Coach Gregory Finel said. Breaking up the camp allows Finel and his team to focus more directly on the needs that each age group will have.
“The camps are geared toward increasing individual skills,” Finel said.
This is why there are fewer slots available in the youth clinic. This will cause a lower coach to player ratio, allowing more personal attention to younger players who may need extra assistance.
To further increase the specialized attention, the court will be broken up into different sections based on the player’s skill levels. No prior experience with volleyball is required to participate in the camps.
Running the camps is a group effort among Finel, his assistant coaches, along with current and incoming players. Activities at the camps will cover aspects of the game such as setting skills, team bonding drills, footwork and body mechanics.
Finel said the work that goes into planning these camps has been extensive.
“It’s hours of planning because I take it very personal,” Finel said. “I invest a lot of time into it.”
Director of District Athletics Duncan Stevenson said that one of the biggest resources for promoting the events has been ParentMap, a monthly publication and website for parents in the Puget Sound area that discusses a wide variety of topics, including events for kids. Stevenson said the college used to print and post flyers for the camp but found that it used a lot of resources. He said that most parents looking for summer activities for their kids now tend to search online and has found that ParentMap has been effective.
The camps are a positive thing for parents, the Pierce players and participants, Stevenson said. Keeping kids away from the TV can be hard for parents during the summer and the camps help keep the players active.
“Getting them enrolled in activities is always a parent’s challenge,” Stevenson said. “I’d love to build a whole summer of sports related activities and camps.”
The camps are also a way for the Raiders players to bond and work together as a team.
“I want the Pierce players to have an opportunity to give back,” Finel said.
Stevenson said one of the best things about the camp is getting to see the kids having fun and the bonding that occurs between the team.
“It puts it back in our students mindset what it was like when they were eight, nine and 10,” Stevenson said.
Parents may register their children for the camp via the registration form on the athletics page of the Pierce College website.
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