Inside Gymnasium Young on Monday morning, two dozen children learned to throw a Frisbee. Just down the hill, more tweens learned how to serve and return a tennis ball.
Earlier in the day, another group of children learned to do karate. In the coming days, more than 100 children will learn the basics of bowling, shooting an arrow with a bow or canoeing on Lake Kellogg in Carthage.
For the 26th year, the Department of Kinesiology at Missouri Southern State University sponsored the Children’s Lifetime Sports Academy, a sports camp for children ages 7-12.
But according to camp coordinator Stephanee Schiding, this isn’t your typical summer sports camp.
“There are a lot of sports camps that are specific to sports, like football camp, basketball camp, baseball camp – and those are fantastic, but the reason our (camp) is designed is because we wanted a camp where kids could come and learn sport skills for life.
Lifetime sports are activities that can be enjoyed from childhood through adulthood. These activities can range from biking and playing nine-hole golf, jogging around the neighborhood, hiking in a state park, or playing badminton in the backyard. Children also learn the kinds of life skills they will need as they enter adulthood, namely compassion, self-discipline, and teamwork.
“Those are the types of things they can do forever,” Schiding said, regardless of their profession, location or age.
During the four days of the Children’s Sports Academy, “campers” will participate in a host of activities — pickleball, fishing and fly fishing, swimming, archery, bowling, 9 Square in the Air, golf course and, new this year, a fly/fish lure creation station.
“These are things they can go out and do for a lifetime,” Schiding said. “Now I’m not saying you can’t play basketball or football all your life, but here we focus on lifelong sports, so they can have a sample of a lot of different activities.”
It’s important, she says, “because if a child doesn’t like one thing, they might like another.”
Participants riding flying discs and learning precision karate kicks seemed to be having fun. Just like 7-year-old Alice Fletcher-Fierro celebrated with her pals when her disc hit the center circle of a target. Nearby, Liam Faruk, also 7, knocked down plastic pins with a perfectly thrown disc. and in the previous karate session, 7-year-old Nolan Mattes was enjoying the intricacies of the martial art and the discipline it teaches.
The academy, Schiding said, is probably more important than ever.
“We live in a technological world,” she said. “We also live in a scary world where people don’t send their kids outside alone as often as they need to, so this is a week where kids aren’t on tech. From the moment it starts until the moment it ends, they are active and having fun and bonding with others (kids) and with other role models from the university.
However, campers weren’t the only ones learning skills on Monday morning. So were the dozens of Southern kinesiology students who served as camp counselors. The camp is a requirement for college physical education students, Schiding said, “and it gives them experience working with younger kids.”
Senior Spyncer Chambers said the Children’s Lifetime Sports Academy “is just a great opportunity to give back to the kids and the community.”
He is learning to become a physiotherapist and he said working with the little ones is key to that future as he could very well deal with children of that age as a professional.
“Hopefully we don’t have any injuries here today and I don’t have to use my skills,” he said.
Luckily, he didn’t have to, although several children tripped and fell during the frisbee session, forcing Kaitlyn Collins to grab bags of ice as they recovered.
Southern senior Levi Duley, high school football player and now an assistant coach at Carl Junction, walked along the line of disc-throwing kids, leaned over to talk to several, cheered others on and helped some catch and throw. throw.
“I love it,” he said. It was his first participation in the academy. He plans to become a high school strength and conditioning coach. However, if that doesn’t work, he said, he would definitely like to work with children aged 7 to 12.
This week’s sports camp “just gives them the opportunity to do some really cool things that they might not do,” Duley said, “and it gets them out of the house and out.”