“We have a good turnout this year,” Head Coach Lori Cooper said of the numbers. “Last year we had 12 athletes total, so this is good.”
According to Cooper the reason for the increase in attendance was the publicity drive the team put on.
“We had 12 kids signed up for the camp before school let out,” she said.
Senior Lakota Hatcher agreed.
“We have more people for sure,” Hatcher said. “We went into the classrooms and talked to the kids about coming out this year and they’re all participating well this year.”
The camp, designed to help young volleyball players work on their basic skills utilizes the knowledge of Cooper and her athletes as well as draws on the knowledge base of community members such as Vanessa Nidiffer who has helped with the camp for a number of years.
Seventh-grader Miranda Floyd was excited about all of the new things she is learning.
“We learn new things everyday,” she said. “We’ve worked on our approach, how to dive and good spiking and serving. It’s been fun.”
For each athlete the things learned can be different even though the instruction given is the same.
“I’ve really learned teamwork skills,” Eighth-grader Jocelyn Kay said. “And they’ve taught me how to set.”
When it comes to the instructors, Kay felt that they were very knowledgeable.
“They’re very helpful,” she said. “We’ve been doing all the activities they’ve planned and playing all the games. It’s been fun.”
For 9-year-old Gracie Harms it has all been new and a lot of fun.
“I’m learning a lot,” the fourth grader said. “It’s fun and the instructors have been really good.”
For one of the instructors, junior Maddie Bentley, the joy has come from watching the kids learn.
“My favorite part is watching the kids improve,” she said, “and knowing that I helped with that.”
Cooper explained that some of the years she had been running the camp they had more than 50 students come and the camp lasted longer and cost more.
“I’ve had to go from five days to four and then down to just three,” she explained. “I’ve also had to reduce the amount it costs because of the economy.”
For Cooper it’s about more than just the number of days or the amount of money fundraised for the volleyball team, it’s about teaching.
“Seeing the improvement is great,” she explained. “Seeing the lights go on as they get it. That makes it all worth it.”