Summer sports camps to return

Camps are once again in-person after going online last year

Sabrina Jiles, Staff Reporter

Illustration by Gabrialla Cockerell

Last year, Seattle Pacific University’s athletic department took their youth athletic camps online, teaching the techniques of sports through a screen. Fast forward to almost a year later as the country is opening back up and allowing more in-person activities, the athletic department is planning in-person camps that still follow COVID-19 procedures.

When registering for the camps this year, families will not only see a list of camps offered, but a file attached for each camp that lays out the COVID-19 procedures that will be implemented and how they will do so.

“We worked internally to create some guidelines for SPU camps and worked individually with each coach who is hosting a camp to do specific COVID guidelines that work with their camp and presented those guidelines to the COVID decision group on campus an have gotten approval to move forward,” SPU athletic director Jackson Stava said.

Upon viewing the COVID safety plan attached to each camp, campers and their guardians will be able to see the steps being implemented into the camps to keep the campers and people working the camps safe. This includes how campers will be dropped off and picked up as well as how campers will be able to rest and eat and drink water during the camps.

Planning camps this year has not been without challenges.

“More of the front end of camp is harder. Planning out what your safety plan is going to be, how check in will look different, listing all the things we can and can’t do so they know beforehand. Coming up with all those things requires more work,” said women’s volleyball head coach Abbie Wright.

Wright is using past experience of running camps to help her develop a game plan of activities for camps this year.

Not only do camps provide campers the chance to better their skills and connect with the coaches and athletes, it also provides revenue that helps to support the teams themselves.

“I think what people don’t realize is that it is a fundraiser for us. It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year that helps with finances that help with some things that go behind the scenes and make it run,” Wright said.

While volleyball has hosted a camp already this year, the rest of the camps last through the month of August with various days to target certain ages and skill sets. During the camps, athletes learn skills to improve their techniques in the various sports they play.

The time at camp is not only enjoyable to the campers but also the SPU staff and athletes who run it. Wright describes the camps as being an important part of the department.

“They build part of your culture. They get people who are off campus to come and see what you’re doing as a program and it puts your footprint into the community,” Wright said.

In a pandemic centered world, guidelines are always changing. Stava said that as new information is released by the state of Washington, the athletic department will do their best to communicate how camps will be affected.

“We want to communicate as best we can, we want to communicate as quickly and efficiently as we can. When we put our COVID guidelines on the camp registration page we go to the specifics of what the camp will look like,” Stava said. “I hope that camps are full to the capacity that we can hold them and are able to execute them safely and that it is a great experience for those students.”