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  • Writer's pictureStephen Bean

"So... Camp New Heights Is a Sports Camp?"

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

This is a question I hear at camp expos, on the phone with prospective parents, and when telling my friends about camp. I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but that simply isn't the case. Do sports occur at Camp New Heights? Sure. Is Camp New Heights a sports camp? Well.....

As noted in our last blog post, our schedule is quite robust with a wide variety of classes and activities. The first period of strength and conditioning can certainly help prepare and advance a camper's sports endeavors. That being said, it's about so much more. The first period class not only gives you the skills and tools to design and implement workouts at home, it also provides campers with a huge self-esteem boost to be able to walk into a gym and execute a workout without any fear of others judging or critiquing what you're doing. These skills and confidence are applicable to all skill levels at camp, which means it's not about sports or athletics. First period class is something that people of every background can benefit from, not just those who are participating in organizing sports.

Second period is either a continuation of the first period class (Camper's choice) or a group or team sport. I've already covered the benefits of first period, so let's take a look at the group or team sport/activity. The group or team sport/activity is not about performance and showing athletic prowess, this class is about team building and sportsmanship. Sports are a great vehicle to deliver valuable lessons about working in a team environment where there are different skill levels and areas of expertise. Working in a team setting is a life skill, it occurs in high school, college, and in the workplace. Learning about how to uplift your teammates and utilize their skills to bring about their best attributes is a life skill. Learning how to handle victory and defeat is also a critical life skill. Teaching campers the value of giving your best effort, celebrating the highlights, and honoring the performance of yourself and your teammates in both victory and defeat is transferable to any setting. Third period provides campers with the choice of sports and human performance, dance, yoga, and running. These choices not only put the camper in control of their own destiny, but they all offer important applicable skills. In sports and human performance you're learning about aerobic capacity, speed, agility, and so much more. In Yoga, you're not only gaining valuable information about flexibility and recovery, you're learning techniques to relax, reduce stress, and clear your mind. Dance, puts you in touch with your body and it's ability to manipulate movements. Running offers stress relief, persistence, and mental clarity on par with yoga.

Obviously our fourth period features lots of traditional sports like basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, and swimming. We also have surfing, dance, and visual arts. These classes not only provide the focused skills of each activity, but they also offer a coach mentor relationship that can help develop a camper as a person. So does Camp New Heights offer sports? Sure. Is Camp New Heights a sports camp? No! Sports and exercise may be the vehicle to deliver some of the important life skills that are developed at camp, but they are not the sole focus of what we do. The skills of Camp New Heights go far beyond that of the field or court. Gaining tools, skills, and information in sportsmanship, physiology, nutrition, cooking, grocery shopping, teamwork, coexisting in a community, uplifting others, celebrating and cherishing those around you, and health and wellness both physically, mentally, and psychologically are far more than what can be found at simply a "sports camp."

The reason this matters is that sometimes people inquire about our program and respond, "Oh my child is not an athlete, this wouldn't be good for them." Or another common response I hear, "I barely survived PE class, I don't think I would do well here." The reason we have three levels at Camp New Heights is because we believe that these tools and skills are universal regardless of athletic prowess.

We welcome campers who have never exercised a day in their life or those who are trying to make their varsity team. Sure we offer some opportunities to participate in sports, but we're not ready to limit ourselves to the title of "sports camp." Will stick to our title of health and wellness camp, because we're about a much bigger picture than simply sports.

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