Ever since I could start enrolling my boys in sports and other activities, we have pretty much done it. They have done everything from baseball, basketball, flag football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, golf, and even circus camp. I have always wanted to give them an opportunity to try different things to see what they would like. Of course, this may come to backfire on us because my oldest son loves everything he gets to do and little brother wants to do everything his big brother is doing. But, they are starting to show some preferences. My youngest son said he wanted to do more soccer so I was really excited for him to check out the Challenger Sports Soccer Camp.
The Challenger Sports Soccer Camp was held from 9am – 12pm every day last week in our town! My son has A LOT of energy, but I was still interested to see how this was going to go for a THREE hour camp. It can get really hot in Central Illinois at the end of July, but they had fantastic weather for camp this year.
At camp, there were two coaches for 16 kids. The kids were divided into four teams – Russia, Brazil, France and England. Giving each team a name really encouraged them to bond and work together. They did skill work, played games and had a snack break each day. My son had so much fun, and you could tell the coaches really enjoyed working with the kids, too!
Aside from the sport itself, there are some other life skills I wanted my son to experience during his time at the Challenger Sports Soccer Camp (and any other camp he attended):
Taking direction from other adults. While my kids know that they have to follow directions from teachers, family members, and my husband and I, camps like this are a great reminder that there are other adults they have to listen to as well. We have had a lot of “blame game” happening in our house this summer so I’ve been talking to my kids a lot about how “everyone answers to someone” whether it is a parent, teacher, friend, coach, boss, police officer, etc. No one can make choices without dealing with those consequences.
Showing good sportsmanship. It’s okay to be skilled and confident, but it is not okay to be a boastful winner. No one is going to “win” all the time. It’s important to me that he recognizes that and take it into consideration with how he acts. On the flip side, it’s also important to me that my kids are not sore losers. While this wasn’t a super competitive camp or high stakes game, I believe these are lessons we can learn in more relaxed settings to prepare us for times when it is more “serious”.
Being a good friend. One of the most important things to me is that my kids learn how to have compassion, empathy, and be a good friend in life. Putting them in a situation where they are with other kids their age, including some they would have never met, gives them opportunities to practice these skills.
Having fun. While I want them to learn a new skill and try their best, I also want them to have fun doing it! If they don’t enjoy the sport or activity and it’s not “required”, there is no sense in doing it.