by Eric Proctor, Catawba College News Service
Although Catawba College students cleared out in May, the campus was anything but empty this summer. Children of all ages flocked to the school for a slew of different camps.
"It's a very busy summer," sighs Conferences and Events Coordinator Paula Davis. "Camps basically start late May and run all summer until late July. We try to accommodate as many as we can."
According to Davis, a lot of the camps were athletic in nature.
Campers ranging in age from seven to 18 poured onto the football field July 5-7.
Baseball enthusiasts had numerous possibilities to explore. Pitcher/catcher camps were offered for kindergarten through eighth graders and high school students. Fundamentals of the game were taught during a full day camp, running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a half-day session which ended at noon.
Players were even offered the opportunity to bring their fathers along for a father/son camp, in which they worked together to develop baseball mechanics.
Girls hit the diamond as well for softball camps and separate pitcher/catcher camps.
In addition to offering half and full day camps, the Catawba College Men's and Women's soccer coaches offered an extended full day camp that ran from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and included lunch and dinner. They also gave local teams a chance to train together at the residential camp, in which players packed into the dorms for a full week.
Thanks to head coach Ginger Hamric's Player's Edge Volleyball Camp, volleyball players were also given the opportunity to practice with their teammates in an overnight setting. There were also day camps and position camps that offered individuals the opportunity to hone their skills as part of a team comprised of campers who did not come with a team.
Players of all ages brought racquets of all sizes for the half and full day camps offered by head tennis coach Jeff Childress. Catawba's crowded campus was given a bit of a break since the first annual Golf and Tennis camp, in which Childress shared the duties with head golf coach Sam Gealy, was held at the Crescent.
According to Paula Davis, the basketball camps were a huge draw for the school.
"I know at one point, we probably had 600 basketball players," she says.
Four different basketball camps were offered throughout the summer: a beginner's camp, an individual camp, a team camp, and a position play camp for posts and guards.
Of course, all of the athletes need a cheering squad when they hit the courts or fields to utilize the skills they have learned this summer. Thankfully, cheerleading camps were offered for fourth through six graders July 11-13 and for kindergarten through third graders July 18-20.
While there were numerous athletic camps, Catawba offered many other possibilities that extended beyond the spectrum of the sports-minded.
The campus was alive with the sound of music when the Central Carolina Band Camp drew about 100 middle school and high school band participants. A Pre-Piano Camp, Musical Theater Camp, and new Drama Camp offered campers the chance to participate in a "Special Sharing" in which they could demonstrate what they learned to an audience of family and friends.
"We are also very proud that we have Boys' State and Girls' State here," says Davis. "Boys' State and Girls' State run about 250 participants each."
Davis hopes that some of the kids who were on campus for programs this summer will remember their Catawba College experience when it is time to decide where to attend college.
"[The summer sessions] give us a lot of public exposure to the kids and the parents bringing their kids on campus," she says. "Kids get the feel of a college campus. We hope it's a good recruiting tool."