With school out and the final high school sports season finished, local athletes are now fully in summer mode.
For many students hoping to earn a spot on next season's team, the summer comes with plenty of opportunities to fine tune their skills.
At least 13 camps will take place in the county within the next two weeks, while several more camps, located in Richmond and Aiken counties, will also begin.
The camps specialize in a wide variety of sports from baseball to volleyball and football to softball. There are the well-established sports camps such as the 16th annual Evans Knights Basketball Camp at Evans High School and the 17th annual Sure-Shot Basketball Camp at Lakeside Middle to the brand-new camps such as the Lady Dogs Softball Clinic put on by Harlem High School at Patriots Park.
More and more sports camps seem to pop up every year.
Donna McNair, the mother of former Harlem softball player Laci McNair and current Lady Bulldog KaLeigh McNair, said the idea of a summer sports camp seems to be growing.
"I remember we didn't have it as much back when Laci was young, but now you stay pretty busy," McNair said. "KaLeigh loves it because it gives her something to do, and she's not bored all the time."
The basketball camp at Evans High School and softball camp at Greenbrier bring in the biggest number of participants. Greenbrier assistant athletics director and girls softball coach Garrett Black said 88 girls took part in his program's annual fastpitch softball clinic, which ended June 1.
The clinic, which also served as a fund raiser for the softball program, always welcomes back former players to help as instructors. Katie Sutherland, Brittany Leverett, Amanda Glover and Tiffany Blackburn were among many of the former Greenbrier softball players who returned to their old field to help as camp instructors.
"It brings back memories," Glover said. "You can go somewhere else, but this is where my heart is."
Summer sports camps in Columbia County will continue through the month of July.
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