Western Washington University’s summer youth camps are hosted by the university’s men's and women's basketball and soccer teams, as well as the women’s volleyball and softball teams.
All currently available camps are day camps, and there are camps open to middle schoolers as well as high schoolers.
All camps are located at Western’s athletic facilities and work to provide camp attendees with knowledge and techniques from players and coaches of their respective sports.
When attending the camps, kids are able to embrace the college experience. The kids eat at the dining hall for lunch and dinner. They also stay in the dorms when attending overnight camps.
Each camp is run by Western athletes and their coaches, giving the athletes the ability to give back their knowledge by coaching the kids.
Amaya Davis, a third-year softball player at Western, explained how beneficial these camps are to the Western players as well as the kids that go to the camps.
“To give back the information we are so lucky to retain ourselves and that we’ve learned from our years of playing, I think that is just really beneficial,” Davis said.
Davis' passion for helping children with their softball skills comes from her own experience of camps such as these when she was a kid.
“I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t fond of camps. But the more I did them growing up, I realized how important they are,” Davis said. “Making yourself known to the coach is really important.”
According to Davis, Western’s camps are a great opportunity for kids to connect with coaches and, with luck, potentially set themselves up to be signed one day.
Jeff Evans, the athletic communications director at Western, explained that this unique opportunity for connection also extends to the student-athletes that help run the camps.
“Camps at Western Washington University involving varsity athletic programs are a great and inclusive way to connect with our community through activities and team building,” he said.
Giving back to the community helps the Western players become closer to the community as well as their teammates.
For Ellee Brockman, a second-year player on the Western women’s basketball team, the camp's ability to connect those in the basketball community has been one of her favorite parts.
She explained that these camps are beneficial for the Western players because they are “...able to interact with the younger generation of actual players.”
Abby May, a third-year volleyball player at Western, agrees with the evident benefits for campers and players in being a part of youth camps. She likes to see all the young girls loving the sport as much as the Western players do.
“Our main goal is bringing in the younger kids to learn new things and teach them different techniques for volleyball,” May said.
May explained that the youth camps are an opportunity to bring her and her teammates together over the summer when they may be on vacation or otherwise gone. This helps grow their team strength and prepares them for the season ahead.
While the women’s volleyball and basketball camps held in July have now passed, there are still a number of camps stretching into mid-August, as listed on the WWU Athletic Camps website.
These camps fill up fast. Although a few are already full, there is an opportunity for interested parties to place themselves on a waitlist.
Western players have shown great pride in coaching these camps and look forward to the next month of camps and the chance they provide to give back to their community.
“My main goal is just to give them as much knowledge as I can that they are able to retain while they are still having fun,” Davis said.
Emma Flentke is a campus reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a PR major and communications minor. In her free time she loves to go to the beach and go hiking. You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.