Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Camp Report, Week One (of one)

I know many parents who spend the summer finding various camps to break up the monotony of their children's idle summer. Our situation doesn't really allow for that- our kids attend the Idlewild Children Center's "Summer Camp," which is really just summer daycare at the same place they attend school-year daycare and after school care.

Last year I added swimming lessons to the mix (and the expense), and this summer Connor was old enough to attend a real basketball camp. The week of July 18, he attended camp at Rhodes College, under the guidance of our men's basketball team's head coach. It was quite an experience for Connor.

There was a choice of going half or full days. I considered half days, so that he wouldn't be too lonely for his Idlewild friends, but then one of his buddies decided to attend full days with us. As it turns out, they were the only two eight-year-olds to stay all day- all of the other younger kids left at lunchtime. This was a big deal, since the camp was designed for boys in grades 3-9. They were the smallest and least-developed kids there by far!

Connor came home each night totally exhausted. The boys played basketball from 9-11 a.m., then swam for an hour and had lunch/reading/goof-off time for an hour after that. Then they played basketball again from 1-4 p.m. As early as Tuesday morning, Connor was complaining about how much his legs and butt hurt! (It kind of made me want to sign myself up for basketball camp.)

They worked on a lot of ball-handling drills that really frustrated Connor. They were clearly above his developmental abilities. He was also nervous about playing in scrimmages with boys who were bigger and older than he is. I tried to assure him that the older boys understood what it was like to be eight, and were probably very impressed with him for giving it his best effort. I could see he was skeptical- Connor likes to be perfect and doesn't want anyone to know that there's anything he can't do. But overall, he was thrilled to be learning so much and also to be spending his days playing basketball, his favorite activity.

On Friday, there was a presentation for the parents. We could come at 3:00 to watch some scrimmages, then around 3:30 there would be a skills demonstration. When I arrived around 3:00, Connor was sitting on the bleachers with tears in his eyes. He ran over to me and pulled up his lip to show me his injury, adding, "I took a charge, then a guy accidentally stepped on my mouth. I don't want to play!" I could tell the tears were really from his utter exhaustion at the end of a week of hard work, so I said, "Get some water, then get in the game! You're fine!" And he was. Playing against much bigger kids, he managed to pull down rebounds at both ends of the floor, steal the ball, and make two baskets in a ten minute scrimmage. He was positively glowing. He lost some steam as they demonstrated the skill drills. He was right- they were too hard for him! The coach assured the parents that he only introduces stuff like this to the younger kids to give them something to work towards. He understands that it's beyond their skill level. It really helped Connor to hear the coach say that to everyone.

As we left, Connor was full of ways he could build on the momentum of the week. He wanted to make sure and spend 10-20 minutes a night working on skills, even if it's too hot to play much ball. He didn't want to lose the muscle he was building in his legs either. But most of all, he just wanted to eat a big snack and fall asleep as soon as possible.

No comments: