It was another busy week for youth camps locally as they summer rolled on with three high school programs holding four-day camps.
The Calhoun basketball, Sonoraville basketball and Calhoun track and cross country programs each held camps this week for local youngsters.
For more photos from the camps this week, see Saturday's Calhoun Times.
Here’s a little info on how each of the three camps went:
The Calhoun High girls and boys basketball programs hosted their annual youth basketball camp this week, and they were able to pass on their knowledge to the largest group of campers they’ve ever had.
In all, the Lady Jackets and Jackets hosted 108 campers for the four days this week from Monday through Thursday. Camp ran from 9-11:30 a.m. at the high school gym, and it included campers from pre-k through rising eighth-graders.
“Camp was great,” said Calhoun girls assistant coach Kayla Ralston, who directed camp this week. “We had awards each day for Camper of the Day, Free Throw Contest and Hot Shot Contest. We had six different stations set up on Monday and Tuesday for shooting, defense, dribbling, rebounding, agility and passing so we could focus on those six fundamentals. Then we did some challenges on Wednesday and had a guest speaker and played some tournaments on Thursday. They kids were very attentive and learned a lot over the whole camp.”
Ralston was assisted by Calhoun Middle girls basketball coach Lisa Drake and Calhoun High boys basketball coach Vince Layson as well as several other assistant coaches. There were 15-20 high school players that also served as instructors throughout the four-day camp.
On the final day on Thursday, each camper was given a t-shirt, a small basketball and a certificate. Winners of the daily awards and contests were also given a certificate, and the four Campers of the Week each earned a plaque.
For the younger group consisting of pre-K through second-graders, the girls Camper of the Week was Savannah Palmer and the boys Camper of the Week was Charlie Baxter. Earning Camper of the Week honors in the older group (3rd-8th graders) was Aryian Berner for the girls and Jax Abernathy for the boys.
Former high school basketball coach Andy Akin was the special guest speaker on Thursday. He talked to the campers about the importance of working hard and practicing all throughout the year rather than just when the season starts.
The Sonoraville girls and boys basketball program hosted their annual youth basketball camp this week, going from Monday through Thursday.
The camp was open to players from kindergarten through eighth grade and the coaches and high school instructors hosted 68 campers during the four-day event, which ran from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day.
“We had a bigger group this year than we’ve had in the last few years, and they were very well-behaved,” said Sonoraville girls head coach Stephanie Caudell. “They really worked hard all week, and everything went smoothly. I saw improvement in all the campers from the young group and the old group. They were excited enough about what they were learning to go home and practice it and come back the next day better. That’s always encouraging to see. This was a really solid group.”
Along with the drills and instruction all week, the campers competed in free throw and hot shot contests. Free throw champions for the week were Cason Brooks and Zane Stewart. Hot Shot winners for the week were Evan Hall and Jaxon Pate.
The top campers were also recognized at the end of the final session on Thursday with Camper of the Week awards. Winners included Clay Worley, Erin Garland, Joanna Gillette and Jalen Jones. Each camper received a t-shirt on Thursday as well.
Caudell and Sonoraville boys head coach Brent Mashburn ran the camp along with the help of about 20 of their high school players.
“The players were really good with the kids,” said Caudell. “They were really patient, and the kids really enjoyed playing with them. I could definitely see some of our players doing something like (coaching) in the future just by their interaction with the younger kids.”
Caudell added that the week was full of instruction and learning but also included a lot of fun for the campers.
“I think it’s important for them to learn some things, but at the same time, we wanted them to have fun and have a good time playing every day,” said Caudell.
“It’s really great for our program. I remember when our players now were little kids coming to these camps. That’s my favorite part of this is seeing them grow up and hopefully becoming part of the Phoenix program.”
Calhoun Track/Cross Country
The Calhoun High track and cross country programs came together to host their the first-ever youth camp at the Calhoun High track facility.
The camp ran from Monday through Thursday from 8:30-10 a.m. each day and included 22 total campers ranging from kindergarten through seventh grade.
“For the first one we’ve done, I don’t think it could’ve gone any better,” said Calhoun track coach Brant Murry. “We had everything mapped out for what we wanted to do. And we built in some teaching time as well as demonstration. We wanted to give the kids some quality instruction, and I think they took to it well. We had some kids really impress us with their skills and abilities and everything they learned.”
Murry and Calhoun High cross country coach Justin Lindsey ran the camp along with the help of other volunteers and a few of the high school athletes.
“We wanted to introduce the kids to all the different aspects of track and cross country,” said Murry. “We wanted to teach them the basics because this was most of the campers’ first time learning about the sport. We had time to go over running, jumping and throwing to give the kids an idea of what all of those aspects of track involved and they had a good time with it
“I think the group learned a good bit. We wanted to give them a good foundation at young age and would love for them to come back to camps in the future and eventually continue helping us build our program.”
The camp wrapped up on Thursday with the campers competing in a meet. Each camper received a t-shirt and a medal at the end of camp.
Murry said he was really happy to see the future generation of track and cross country athletes this week.
“It was encouraging to see the kids want to learn,” said Murry. “It’s such a new sport for them since they probably won’t start competing in it until middle school. The camp opened up some eyes for our program, and it was exciting to see interest at younger ages.”