The auxiliary gym at Brownstown Central High School was loaded with volleyball players last week.
Hosting its annual summer camp, the Braves’ program saw an influx of athletes ranging from fifth to eighth grade come out.
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“We were overwhelmed by the number of kids we’ve had,” Braves varsity coach, and camp director, Jennifer Shade said. “We’ve had close to 30 in the first group and, 35 to 40 in the second group. With the high school kids here, we’ve had 100-plus kids touching volleyballs, which is outstanding.”
The camp was divided into two sessions from May 28 through June 1. Fifth and sixth-graders took to the courts before seventh and eighth worked on skills.
“I think (attendance) cycles around, but we’ve also started a club program with the younger kids,” Shade said. “We had a large number of kids in that club ball program this year, too. I think that carries over and keeps kids excited. We have some here that don’t play club ball, too, and they’re here getting better for their team once August starts.”
Shade said her entire coaching staff, and members from her high school team, helped run the camp.
She said that it’s important for the high school kids to be role models for the younger athletes.
“The young kids look up to them,” Shade said. “I think it keeps them excited. They’ve done a lot of cheering and pumping up for these kids. I also notice that the kids that are helping, they repeat what I say and learning how to teach the technique themselves.”
Eighth-grader Kalee Borden said she likes working on her skills with Shade and company.
“We’ve worked on serving, passing and hitting,” Borden said. “I think it’s nice to get with all of your friends and work with girls that you don’t usually play with.”
Brooke Pranger, an incoming eighth-grader, said she came back to camp again this summer to help get ready for the fall.
“I came back because you learn new skills,” Pranger said. “I’m going to use some the things I’ve learned during the season.”
Shade said the camp was a big success.
“This week has been fun,” she said.”It’s summer and to have this many kids here has just warmed my heart.”