Kids get their kicks at Challenger camp
Challenger Camp has been running in town for a few years now and parents agree across the board that it’s a great way for their kids to spend the last week of summer.
For the full-day, five-day program, the cost is just over $200.
“And it’s such a good value,” said Melissa Hemmelgarn, “and it’s great because they really emphasize more than just the game.
“School starts next week so it also gets them back into the routine of getting up in the morning and going out.”
Hemmelgarn recited the four main focuses of the program, “Respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and leadership. And it all comes back to respect.”
She noted that about 1,200 coaches come from the UK and tour North America for the summer, putting on camps across the continent.
“They’re mostly students who are just finishing or just finished university,” she added.
Jaye Fisher said that this is her two sons’ fourth year at the camp.
“They keep them busy,” said Fisher. “There’s so many different games and activities that they don’t lose interest and they don’t realise that they’re learning important skills. I think the British accent helps too.
“They’re learning new vocabulary like rubbish. That’s their new favourite word.”
She said that the coaches help to develop their team’s soccer skills too.
“It definitely translates because even though they wont play again until May next year, you can tell which kids did soccer camp.” In soccer this past spring, she said, her son was put into the U8 group because he was more skilled than the U6 group.
“And we’re hosting a coach,” she added. “It’s a great experience all around.”
This is the second year Melanie Barr has put her kids in the camp, and she is fond of the program as well,
“The fact that everything is in the form of games, not drills, is great,” said Barr. “It’s good because they’re also in soccer in the spring. They say they’re not learning anything, that they’re just playing games, but they don’t realise their skills are improving too.”
It’s a great program, she said, and well worth the price tag.
She said that the coaches, all from the UK do a one-week training session in the UK and fly out here afterwards.
Liam James, a coach who hails from Basingstoke, England, said “This is my first year of Challenger but my ninth week. I’ve been all over America and Canada (this summer).”
“It’s a vacation,” said James, “but its also so rewarding to see all the kids improve their skills.
“I love coaching. I’ve always grown up playing soccer and now I actually get to give it back. Last week I was in Revelstoke, this week I’m staying at a farm, they’ve taken me around and shown me everything.”