Center encourages youth to camp it up this summer|
by Christopher Kratzer
4/29/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Maxwell youth center has plenty of opportunities for children and young adults to get outside and play this summer. The center is putting on several camps and promises to have something for everyone.
The staff will host a British soccer camp, sideline sports camp and archery camp. Each of these offers unique experiences and teaches a different type of skill. The British soccer camp will feature drills to improve footwork, the sideline sports camp features nontraditional sports like Frisbee golf and water polo. The archery camp includes a history component as well as hands-on archery training.
Children develop sports skills at these camps, but they also learn important life lessons, according to Robert Richert, the director of youth programs at the center.
"Sports develop responsibility and teamwork. It mimics a lot of what happens in life," he said. "You have an expectation. You have a goal. Whether that's an individual goal or a team goal, you work on laying out a plan to achieve that goal."
A common theme the Maxwell Youth Center wants youngsters to take away is teamwork. Mr. Ritchey said he believes teaching kids this concept early will help them succeed later in life.
"Children need to learn that in every aspect of life they are going to be working with a team or unit to achieve a goal," he said. "We have to teach them that every person on that team has a responsibility and has to be prepared to help that team achieve that goal. They learn that at an early age in team sports."
This year's camps focus on nontraditional sports and give children a unique opportunity to experience something new, broadening their horizons. The center also is offering an art camp and a performing arts camp that will take place in July.
"Not everyone is cut out to be a football player, baseball player or a basketball player, and it lets people know there are other things out there that can showcase your talent that are different from the traditional sports that we are generally wrapped around," Mr. Richert said.
The youth center staff said they hope that these camps will encourage kids to develop their unique skills and learn how they can benefit a team.
"Kids tend to get wrapped up in the idea that they're not good basketball players, or maybe they're not good runners, and they get down on themselves," Mr. Richert said. "They need to understand that everyone has a special gift, and through participating in different events and trying many different things, they are going to discover what those gifts are. If you don't put yourself out there you'll never discover what those gifts are."
The children aren't the only people who benefit from these camps. The youth center staff said they are inspired by the children enjoying and learning at these camps.
"The smiles on the kids' faces is its own reward," said Fletcher Jones, the youth sports director.
For more information on any of the camps or to register, contact the Maxwell Youth Center at 953-6292.
June 6 - 10, Challenger British soccer camps
June 13 - 17, Sideline sports camp
June 20 - 24, Archery camp
July 11 - 15, Abrakadoodle art
July 18 - 23, Missoula performing arts camp