Barely a week goes by in the summer months without some type of sports camp for Columbia County's youths to attend.
Two more camps - football at Augusta Prep and softball at Harlem - jumped into the annual mix for the first time last week.
Augusta Prep played host to its first football camp for boys and girls ages 7-12. Augusta Prep coach Tyler Bromley directed the weeklong camp and said about 20 children signed up ahead of time. On the first day, more than 40 children showed up.
"I knew we'd have some come in who didn't sign up early, but I really didn't expect this many." Bromley said.
"I had to call for more help."
The camp was designed to promote interest in a football program to be added at Augusta Prep in the form of an elementary intramural season this fall. Bromley said about 75 percent of the children in attendance were not currently enrolled at the school.
"We've got way more non-Prep kids than Prep kids," he said.
"The enrollment director heard about it and was thrilled."
The noncontact football camp emphasized the basics each day throughout the week, including throwing, catching, holding the ball, punting and positioning.
"Today we went over the five points of pressure when you hold the ball and the positions and responsibilities on the field," Bromley said Tuesday.
"A lot of these kids have never played before, so we stuck with the basics."
Harlem High School softball coach Mike Leverett did the same thing at his inaugural Lady Dogs Softball Camp. More than 30 girls in grades 2-8 took part in the week-long event that saw former Columbia County softball players Brittany Leverett, Anna Cheeley and Jeni Massingale serve as instructors.
Mike Leverett said the work the campers did over the week will turn profitable further down the road.
"It'll help them in the long run because we're teaching them the right way to do things. Now they'll know the basics when they get to middle school," he said.
"You don't have time to teach that stuff when they get to high school."
The camp was held at the Patriots Park softball complex in Grovetown. Leverett said the Harlem softball field is under construction and should be complete before the 2007 season begins.
"We redid the infield and brought some sod in to make the field legal. The outfield grass has to be 60 feet from the rubber," Leverett said.
A new air-conditioned press box at the Harlem softball field is also nearing completion.
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