Sarah, Footie Camp coordinator here, checking in before the start of another awesome summer at camp! We had such a great time last year playing soccer, making friends, dancing like crazy, meeting pro-athletes, and having tons of FUN. This year, we have plenty of great ideas and surprises on the way – I’m very excited to see what Footie Camp 2017 holds!
For those of you who don’t know me, I am the Coordinator for Footie Camp. Outside of camp, I am a student at the University of Alberta in my third year of BSc in Kinesiology. In my spare time, I like to go for runs, go to the gym, be with friends, and play soccer! I have played soccer since I was 4, and in high school I played for a Tier 1 team in Edmonton. Injury led to an early end to my soccer career, so I just play for fun now.
I have also had extensive involvement in summer camps prior to Footie Camp. I worked and volunteered at Camp Nakamun for three years before coming to Footie Camp, and have volunteered at other day camps as well. This is where I discovered how awesome kids are, and that they are lots of fun to work with!
As a coordinator at Footie Camp, I wear a lot of hats. I worked before the launch of the 2016 Footie Camp to put some basic organizational and safety policies in place. Once camp started, I oversaw the logistics of Footie Camp by making schedules, training our awesome coaches, gathering equipment, and coordinating with our caterers, along with many other jobs.
After last year’s camps, I wrote a report that outlined all aspects of the camp and I really believe that last year was a great success. However, over the next few months I will still be working to improve the camp! One way I will do this is by going over our activities and modifying the least enjoyed ones to make them more fun. I’m also working on bringing in more lunch speakers this year, which brings me to another task – finding celebrity guests!
Another project I am working on is to make sure our goal of ‘Person before Player’ is even more prominent this year. At Footie Camp, we believe that character development should be just as important as skill development, so we integrate means of character development into our soccer activities to help kids be the best they can be. Last year, we accomplished this through Team Captain Activities and, while these activities were great for leadership development, I want to focus on additional aspects of good character this year. This leads me to Positive Youth Development (PYD)! PYD is a new concept being developed in sport that strives to develop transferable personal and social life skills, along with physical abilities.
At Footie Camp, we will implement PYD by focusing on 5 key qualities: competence, confidence, caring, connection, and character. These ‘5Cs’ were developed by psychologist Richard M. Lerner, and I see them being integrated into our activities very well. This winter, I will be creating PYD activities that will be fun and active games to encourage kids to use the 5C’s and develop their character. Through these activities, the kids will learn and understand the importance of caring, and character, will feel competent and therefore confident in themselves, and will develop great connection with others.
Speaking of connection, I would love to reflect on an incredible part of last year’s camps that no amount of planning or organization could have made happen: the integration of a very diverse group of children. From Crestwood, to Belvedere, to Lauderdale, to Congo, to China, to Syria, our kids came from all over the map. It was inspiring to see how well they included one another, and I give them all the credit for this. Even through strong language barriers, the kids made efforts to communicate with each other and help each other through the drills. I think what we saw at Footie Camp truly goes to show what society can look like when we focus on our similarities instead of our differences. The kids were at camp to play soccer and have fun; it didn’t matter what colour their skin was, how old they were, or what language they spoke. They just wanted to have fun. And they did.
As we are prepping for Footie Camp 2017, I can already tell it is going to be an awesome time with exciting guests, crazy dancing, tasty food, new friends, fun coaches, and of course…lots of soccer. I can’t wait to see what unfolds, and I hope to see you there!
Registration is officially open! Head here to learn more about what an average day looks like at Footie Camp, and to register your child for some amazing fun and development this summer.
See you on the pitch!