Bear Facts

Summers of opportunity: athletes strive to sharpen skills over the summer

Emma Brumage-Kilcourse, Staff Writer

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 Most of us have fond memories of summer camp: from singing songs around the campfire to spending our first nights away from home, it’s a fixture of childhood for many people. But beyond s’mores and campfires, some student-athletes are redefining the purpose of summer camp from a break from their responsibilities to another opportunity to get ahead athletically.
The benefits of sport camps can vary wildly, from guest instructors to opportunities for team bonding. According to Racheal Fischer, head cheerleading coach, camps provide athletes with an opportunity to work with instructors that can provide them with different skills and talents.  At Speed Camp, run by the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) for LZHS cheerleaders, Fischer says that she especially likes the college cheerleaders they work with from the University of Kentucky.
“The [University of Kentucky] kids {the cheerleaders] work with are awesome because they’re closer to our athletes’ ages. So they listen to [those instructors] a little bit more because they are currently using the same skills. The {girls} are able to learn a little bit more from them.”
Camp can be an opportunity to show off how a team’s skills have developed over their time.
“At [Speed Camp], there are a lot of other teams that we compete against that go there, so it’s almost like a competition camp because you want to show what you’ve been working on. [At] the end of the camp you get to show off what you’ve learned,” Fischer said.
One of the more controversial aspects of athletic camps can be the financial cost students have to pay to attend. In a Bear Facts Survey, 78.5% of athletes had attended a camp for their sport at some point in their high school careers. According to Fischer, to attend both camps (Speed Camp and Camp Jeff) a cheerleader can expect to spend almost $600 and would pay more, if it were not for their spirit booster club. This, however, is an unusual setup– only a quarter of camp attendees received assistance from the school or fundraisers like this to help cover the costs.
While camps can sometimes be expensive and inconvenient, Fischer still believes that the benefits of summer camp make it all worth it for her cheerleading team.
“I know it sounds crazy, but over those three short days, the amount of growth you see is tremendous.”
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Lake Zurich High School Student Media
Summers of opportunity: athletes strive to sharpen skills over the summer