The Western women’s softball team finished the season with an overall record of 26-21 and placed fifth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a league mark of 15-13. After the season ended, the women shifted their focus to helping young girls find their passion for softball with the WWU Softball Youth Camp, July 12-13.
Girls ranging from ages 8-13 were invited to practice the fundamental skills of softball and more importantly, to have fun with current Western softball players.
“Youth camps are always fun. It’s fun to get the little ones out here and spread the love of the game,” Western’s softball head coach Amy Suiter said.
The camp started off with the right tone, youth parent Olivia Snell said.
“When they first got here I heard the coaches talking to them all; they started off with ‘if you make a mistake don’t get down on yourself,’” Snell said.
The Snell family has traveled around the state for various softball camps but Western’s stands out. Olivia and her daughter Danni returned for the second year at the camp, commuting from Anacortes, Washington.
“It’s worth [the drive]. There aren’t a lot of camps offered for this age group,” Olivia Snell said. “Every time [my daughter] comes here her spirits have been lifted, as far as the softball atmosphere goes. She doesn’t ever leave here feeling bad about herself.”
Western’s campus is no stranger to youth camps and for some families the softball camp is what they look forward to most during the summer. For Stephanie Colunga’s daughter Emily, this week was her first time putting a glove on.
“I’m just worried about my daughter being inactive at home, so I love that they offered [the camp] during the summer. I wish they offered it more often because I would definitely get her involved in it more frequently if I could,” Stephanie Colunga said.
Colunga and her daughter drove up from Marysville, Washington, specifically for the experience of Western’s camp.
“[The coaches] are really nice and they take it slow if we don’t get anything,” 12-year-old Emily Colunga said.
For many of the Western softball players fundamental skills were important, but having fun and creating memories at the camp took precedence.
Junior pitcher Makinlee Sellevold knew how important it was for the campers to enjoy themselves.
“I wanted them to walk away having fun—softball can be stressful at times but looking back at your fondest memories it’s when you’re little and playing when its carefree,” Sellevold said. “That’s one thing that was really important to me.”