Jerae Vaughn, a rising second-grader at Riverside Elementary, was a little surprised when she showed up for her first day of soccer camp Monday.
The 7-year old, attending the Shannon Mac Soccer Camp last week at Augusta Soccer Park, participated in a team drill and ended up on the losing team. The loss was a bit unorthodox.
The losing team, including Jerae, was forced to pay for its loss by lining up on the sideline and belting out an impromptu rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as the winning team enjoyed the show.
"It was a little embarrassing, but it's fun," Jerae said.
The nontraditional approach came from Shannon MacMillan, the director of the weeklong camp for girls ages 8-18.
MacMillan, a member of the U.S.A.'s 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams, brought her first-year camp to Augusta and drew at least 25 local girls to the Augusta Soccer Park.
Bearing the heat and several physically demanding drills, the campers also got a little fun for their money.
"My goal for this week is for them to have fun while they're learning and to help build their confidence," MacMillan said.
MacMillan's style of running a camp includes several team drills throughout the day ending with the winning squad celebrating and the losing squad earning a punishment.
The punishment for the younger aged group included silly dances and songs and a joke-telling session. A losing team in the older group paid for a loss by standing in goal with their backsides facing midfield. The winning team then was allowed to take free penalty kicks.
"We had to do it because we lost," Sibley McCallie, a rising fourth-grader at Westminster said. "I like it. You're supposed to be aggressive but at the same time you're having fun."
MacMillan said the tasks each losing team must do are hardly punishments but do go a long way in keeping a good perspective on the sport of soccer.
"I think there's an awful lot of pressure on girls nowadays. It's not all about playing until you pass out. It's about enjoying what you're doing and who you're around," she said. "These young ones should be having fun. For me, I've played soccer for 26 years, and I still play because I love the game. Making it competitive but also goofy for them keeps them happy."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.