School is out and the classrooms are closed. However, all over the county, the gyms are opening.
Sports camps at local schools are providing elementary and middle school children with countless athletic options this summer. Columbia County is filled with successful high school programs willing and able to run sports camps as team fundraisers and as a way to prepare the next generation of student-athletes.
"It's a way to get them out of the house and stay active," Evans boys basketball coach Kevin Kenny said during a break in his weeklong basketball camp for boys and girls ages 5-14. "With the younger ones we want them to develop a love for the game."
Kenny spread the love of basketball to 90 children who attended his camp this past week and said he hopes to do the same during another camp June 26-30.
The Evans camp is one of the biggest and longest running in Columbia County, at 15 years and counting. It has produced several basketball standouts, including Greenbrier starting point guard Bryan Andrews and Evans stars Brandon Durr and Wes Wuchte. Durr and Wuchte returned as instructors this past week.
"This is my third year, and it's always fun," Durr said. "I like to work with the kids and teach them the game. We teach the fundamentals and steer them in the right direction."
Basketball isn't the only sport available to children this summer.
Area youths also can participate in camps focusing on football, baseball, volleyball, golf, soccer, softball and cheerleading.
In Harlem, baseball coach Jimmie Lewis and his staff will run an inexpensive camp geared toward nailing down the basics on the diamond.
Greenbrier volleyball coach Debbie Born will hold a volleyball camp this week for middle-schoolers.
With no middle school volleyball program in the Columbia County public school system, the camps often are a first introduction to the game for many girls.
Lakeside will offer a girl's basketball camp beginning this week, and Augusta Christian Schools football coach Bruce Lane's camp starts this week for children in first through eighth grades. Several camps not affiliated with a particular school are also set to begin this month at the YMCA (golf) and with the CSRA Heat (volleyball).
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.