Yosemite High School hosted its first Yosemite Badger Youth Sports Camp June 17-20, attracting 60 boys and girls between fourth and ninth grade.
Held on the Yosemite High campus, the camp was designed to give every camper the opportunity to learn the basics of a variety of sports in a fun and encouraging atmosphere.
Yosemite cross country coach Ellen Peterson said the coaching staff at the camp received great feedback from all the students who participated as well as the parents.
"For our first camp, it couldn't have gone better," Peterson said. "We are already looking forward to next year for a bigger and better camp."
Peterson said Katie Thompson, an incoming Yosemite freshman who plays softball and basketball, got her first exposure to golf at the camp and now wants to join the golf team.
Clayton Elrod, 11, said the camp was the highlight of his summer.
The camp started as an idea to help raise funds for the Yosemite High athletic fund. Michelle Chenowith, former YHS volleyball coach and the new athletic director at Yosemite High embraced the idea and put it into motion.
Pat Lynch, a current football coach and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader on campus, came up with the idea to create an all sports camp for children to enjoy.
"When you throw out an idea it's very hard to put together but Michelle put the final touches on it and did a great job," Lynch said. "The vision of the camp was to give each camper the opportunity to learn a new sport that Yosemite High has to offer and to connect with the students. In addition to the 60 camp participants, we had 10 coaches, 15 student leaders and volunteers from the community."
Lynch greeted the campers each morning at 8 a.m.
"We had an hour before the sports sessions started so we used that time to talk about life skills, play games and stretch," Lynch said. "Life skills such as being kind to others, how to be the best competitor you can be, how to be a great teammate and showing your pride toward your school. The last day was called Badger Pride Day and we had Studley the Badger, cheer and pep teams perform, a talent show and the water balloon frenzy with 1,000 water balloons."
Lynch explained that children may not be good at all the sports that were presented at camp.
"But that's OK It was about them trying something new and possibly discovering something new about themselves," Lynch said. "It was an opportunity for our school and coaches to highlight why Yosemite is a superior school with great administration, teachers, coaches and students. Overall it was one of the best experiences I've ever had working with youth from our community."
In the morning the camp had designed two sessions a day to teach the fundamentals of sports including football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, baseball, tennis, track and cheer. The students were provided lunch each day along with a variety of fun games. After lunch, all the camp participants headed to the Yosemite High pool where the swim coaches met them and sorted the campers into two groups based on their skill level.
Campers learned about proper swim strokes and water polo. The young swimmers worked with kick boards in the shallow portion of the swim complex. The camp ended each day at 3 p.m.
Lynch said next year's camp will again be held with more sports and more activities.