BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Spring might be just getting underway, but the Maumee High School athletic department has released the schedule for its upcoming summer sports camps for youths in the district.
The football camp will run on June 7-9 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Kazmaier Stadium. The fee is $25.00 and the camp is open to students entering grades 3-6 in the fall.
Registration for all youth sports camps are available on the Maumee City Schools website.
For varsity coach Cam Coutcher, these camps are the first step to introducing the program to the future of the Panthers program.
“The exposure to the environment that we can create for these kids – it’s fun, it allows them to build a relationship with the players and coaches,” Coutcher said. “When kids are involved in things, they tend to be in a better mood, they tend to get better grades. It has a huge impact on them.”
Each student at the football camp will have an opportunity to learn basic fundamentals for different positions, including quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
“We work on skill development,” Coutcher said. “Every kid will get exposure to all different positions and learn to work with the high school kids at those positions. It’s more about getting them exposure and to develop them skill-wise.”
The summer camp schedule kicks off with boys basketball and girls basketball, each running from June 1-3.
The volleyball camp is open to girls entering grades 3-8 and costs $35.00. Girls in grades 3-5 will run from 9-10:30 a.m., and girls in grades 6-8 will take the court from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The boys basketball camp is open to boys entering grades 3-8 and costs $25.00. It runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The girls basketball camp is the next week, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on June 7-9. It’s open to girls entering grades 3-8 and also costs $25.00.
For second-year varsity coach Rafael Soler, getting the youth involved with and excited in the program is a step in building his foundation.
“I definitely want to build some skills, at least give them some drills they can do at home, some things we find as most important,” Soler said. “But I do think one of the main things is building that love for the game, finding something they love to do and just getting a basketball in their hands.”
The cheer program will host its youth camp on June 22-24 and is open for students entering grades 2-6. The times for students in second and third grades are 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for grades 4-6. It costs $25.00.
The soccer program hosts a camp for students entering kindergarten through eighth grade on June 21-23 at Kazmaier Stadium. It runs from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and the fee is $30.00.
During late winter and early spring, a group of youth coaches and parents have opened the Gateway Middle School gymnasium to hold open gyms for younger girls in the district. That experience plus the summer camp instruction from the high school coaching staff is vital, according to Soler.
“If you expect to come into high school and never really played, never had the coaching before, it’s going to be very difficult to just jump into the game and go for it,” Soler said.
“If this is something where we’re going to try to turn this program around and be successful, win some games and hopefully some league championships in the future, that has to start early.
“One of the things is building those relationships. The players have to be able to trust you. If we’re able to build those relationships early, we can get more buy-in, more excitement around our program.”
Soler and Coutcher both said the experience isn’t just valuable for the youths. Having their high school players involved with youth programs also gives those older players a greater stake in the future and health of their programs.
“Our kids have been amazing,” Coutcher said. “They like doing it. They understand the value behind giving back to the community. It makes them feel like they have a sense of purpose in our program beyond winning and losing. It’s about creating a community feel and foundation they can pass along to future generations.”
“They’ve taken it seriously that they are role models to these girls as well,” Soler added. “They know when they make these appearances and get in front of these girls, it means something. That’s been huge for us building for the future.”