We are about half way through our concentrated camp experience. We are with our ten campers all the time – breakfast, lunch, dinner, practice, pool, activities… non-stop!
We definitely started the week with some challenges. Most of our kids didn’t have cleats or water bottles (and every practice has been over 90 degrees Fahrenheit!), two kids didn’t even know they were coming to a Frisbee camp and really hadn’t played before, others who are at a higher level of play and are bored with the slow learning of the other kids. Finally, several speak no English whatsoever and there is a super wide range of maturity and ages ranging from 13-17.
Luckily, we have come up with some creative solutions to address these challenges – we did rally the coaches to come up with 6 pairs of borrowed cleats that miraculously were the right sizes for our campers. We also have been collecting empty large coke bottles to work as water bottles. They are all also learning the game of ultimate really well – one kid who couldn’t throw a flick at all can now throw one 20 yards with no wobble.
We have a coaching team of 5 and it takes all of us to really bring the team together. One of us is always on point for something – translating, giving individual feedback, leading a drill, getting water from a nearby fountain, taking attendance. Truly a herding cats experience – never a dull moment. It is much more the nature of the beast than a reflection on the kids – our team is such a great group (albeit a little unruly). We laugh a lot together, and our kids’ smiles are contagious. Sometimes I can’t believe some of the things that come out of their mouths when we huddle – thoughtful, respectful – indicative of the 5 camp values (fun, friendship, mutual-respect, non-violence, integrity).
Today we held a scrimmage against another team – and our team was encouraging them, asking great questions and playing super hard. Someone on the other team called a foul on one of our newer players, and they quickly and respectfully resolved the call with some dialogue (they didn’t speak the same language so some translating was involved) and hugged afterwards. This sort of conduct (#spiritofthegameisawesome) is translating to everywhere at camp. One of the coaches who was running a free choice activity of soccer was telling me how some kids were making some respectful self-referee-ed calls after a collision on the field – a type of interaction not very common in soccer as we know it.
Tomorrow is tournament day – crossing our fingers that the team plays well, continues to come together, and has a great time. Hopefully we will pull off a win or two as well :).