July 29, 2010
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Athletic camps offer "fun" competition, increase awareness of college life
Participants in the Roadrunner Soccer Academy have fun expressing their competitive spirit.
The 2010 World Cup is over, but the spirit of soccer was alive and well for 58 students, ages 6-14, who attended the Roadrunner Soccer Academy in early July.
The academy is one of multiple Roadrunner camps held each year by the Metropolitan State College of Denver Athletics Department, bringing more than 1,000 youth to campus to learn basic skills in volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball.
The benefits of the camps extend beyond learning the basics of a sport, says Athletic Director Joan McDermott. "The impact on the community is exponential. The competitive, yet social, environment instills at a young age the importance of setting goals and sticking to them. The camps also breed connections between the coaches and the community, allowing them to give back to the next generation of college students."
Giving back is an ongoing theme for the department, which received the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Award in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in 2008 for its "Building Bridges to the Community" program. The program began in the fall of 2007 when the women’s softball team "adopted" the Denver West High School girls' softball team. The partnering between the two teams is ongoing, continuing to build bridges between the College and Denver Public Schools. The department’s reach also extends to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Colorado "I Have a Dream" Foundation, Denver Kids, Inc., Denver’s Children’s Home and Sportswomen of Colorado, among other organizations.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach Adrianne Almaraz hopes that at the end of the day, the youth have fun.
While these camps and partnerships initially bring students to campus to learn new skills or to cheer on the Roadrunners at their games, they also serve as an opportunity for youth to interact with student athletes and spend time on a college campus.
Basic sport skills and life lessons asde, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Adrianne Almaraz says that "at the end of the day, I hope they learn a lot, enjoy soccer and have fun."
For two of this year’s academy participants returning for the second year, the fun is in the competitive spirit.
Makayla Veasley,14, plays soccer at school and with another recreational team. With more than seven years under her belt playing soccer, she returned because she thought the camp would be fun between all the other sports she participates in year-round, including football, soccer, track and field, and softball.
The goalie says she appreciates the academy because it allows her to "practice my feet. It’s fun and keeps me conditioned to get ready for soccer season."
For 11-year-old Lindsey Bohm, the academy helps "me get more touches and gets me used to playing with different team members." The midfielder, who has been playing since she was three, also participates with other competitive teams, including the Colorado STORM Soccer Club, "at the P2 level," she proudly announces.
The department’s final camp of the summer, July 29-31, is the Metro State Position Camp for volleyball. About 50 participants were expected, according to Head Volleyball Coach Debbie Hendricks.