Summer sport camps bring an infusion of youth to campus
A youth movement is once again coming to the University of Lethbridge campus – one Frank Huss welcomes with open arms.
Huss, the youth and intramurals supervisor for Sport and Recreation Services, oversees an influx of up to 800 children through the annual summer sport camp program. Offering everything from fencing, rock climbing and basketball to specialized leadership camps, the program not only keeps University of Lethbridge sports facilities humming through the summer months, it often introduces the southern Alberta community to the U of L.
“It’s a good avenue for us, as the University of Lethbridge, to really connect with the community,” says Huss. “We cater mainly to young, elementary-aged students and it’s never too early to expose them to everything we have here on campus. You never know what that could turn into down the road.”
The most popular camps annually include rock climbing and multi activity, and while they will remain as staples, along with the sport camps that are linked to the U of L’s athletic programs (hockey, basketball and soccer), Huss and his staff evaluate their offerings each year and make subtle changes. Three new camps being offered this summer include fencing, seven’s rugby and tennis. As well, judo is back in the fold as Ben Kwan, a disciple of the late Dr. Yosh Senda, looks to follow in the great sensei’s footsteps.
“We try to add new things every year. We’re limited to space with what we can do so we often experiment within our multi activity camps to see how things go,” says Huss. “We did that with both rugby and tennis, running them as a component of the multi activity before making each a full-fledged camp.”
Adding rugby is a natural, with the U of L boasting the three-time national championship women’s program as a coaching resource, while the addition of tennis includes a partnership with the Lethbridge Tennis Club. What surprises Huss is the popularity of fencing, which has seen a second camp added to satisfy demand.
Some of the more traditional camps have lagged a little in registration numbers, specifically hockey, as there tends to be increased competition throughout the region for young players. Huss stresses the University hockey camps have their own niche, designed more for the six to 10-year-old less experienced players. As well, the U of L utilizes its women’s hockey program to offer a unique camp opportunity for nine to 12-year old girls.
With the opening of the new Community Sports Stadium, the prospect of adding more summer camps is a distinct possibility.
“With the addition of the new field, it opens things up to where we can consider doing a football camp, as well as track and field components,” says Huss.
For information on Sport and Recreation Services summer camps, call 403-329-2706 or visit www.uleth.ca/sportrec