June 11, 2003
By Cory Walton
From the hardwood to the pool, and even on the diamonds, the Notre Dame campus will be alive with youthful exuberance this summer, as the Irish athletic teams hold their annual summer camps.
The camps, which are available all summer, are designed to provide fundamental instruction to kids ranging in age from six to 18.
“Our goal is for the kids to learn the basics of the game. We want them to have a lot of fun, but, at the same time we want them to learn a lot,” Debbie Brown, head coach of the women’s volleyball team, says.
Libby Muir practices her stance at the 2003 women’s volleyball camp.
While the focus of the camps may be fundamentals, the campers certainly have their fair share of fun while at a Notre Dame camp.
“We do the fundamentals, but we also do a lot of fun things with the kids. We just had a mismatch contest today at our day camp where the kids dress up in crazy outfits. Sometimes we take a break from basketball and play little games with the kids, like relay races,” junior women’s basketball player Jacqueline Batteast says.
Camp also provides kids with the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, some of the top coaches and athletes in their respective sports.
Children were encouraged to dress up for Mismatch Day at the annual women’s basketball camp.
“It’s really fun to meet all the Notre Dame players. They’re all very nice,” Elizabeth Anthony, a women’s basketball day-camp attendee, says.
That sentiment is reciprocated back to the campers by the coaches and players that run the camps.
“The campers are the best part of camp. We get to fall in love with the sport all over again through the eyes of the campers,” men’s swimming coach Tim Welsh says.
As word of the quality of the Notre Dame camp experience has spread, enrollment in the camps has increased. Both Brown and Batteast estimate that enrollment in their respective day-camps has doubled since last year. According to Kara O’Leary, director of the camp program, a total of over 6,000 kids have signed up for this summer’s camps.
Monique Hernandez and Jackie Batteast are some of the instructors for the women’s basketball day camp.
“There are a lot of kids excited to be coming to Notre Dame,” she says.
“We’re providing quality instruction in a safe and fun environment. The kids are going to have a lot of fun while they’re here, but they’re also going to learn a lot and develop great skills and a team philosophy. It’s really something for the kids to look forward to this summer.”
A slightly less sophisticated, yet still as poignant, reason why a Notre Dame camp is so exciting comes from Darby Mountford, a women’s basketball day-camp attendee.
“I love basketball and I love Notre Dame. This is so fun.”