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Monday, July 25, 2011

Tubman soccer camp participants shrug off the heat, focus on improving

Standing under the sun’s rays on the hottest day of the summer, Emily C. smiled and didn’t skip a beat when posed the question:

Have you thought about not coming to camp because of the heat?

“No,” said Emily, who is going into fifth grade at Tubman Elementary School. “I never have second thoughts when it comes to summer camp.”

And that was that.

Emily wasn’t in the minority, either, last week on Tubman’s hot turf field. Despite triple-digit temperatures in the area, the DC SCORES soccer camp continued on — with many precautionary measures and water breaks — because participants kept coming, eager each day to learn new soccer skills whatever the weather.

“It’s better than doing nothing at home,” said Christian L. of Tubman. “You’d just rather come outside and play in the heat.”

The experience isn’t merely an alternative to listless days of being inactive. During the first three weeks of the camp, which concludes this week, around 140 students from roughly 30 area elementary, middle and high schools have come to improve their soccer ability.

DC SCORES staff members and counselors have taught students new skills, led them through drills such as keep-away, and, of course, mixed in confidence-building games like Power Finesse with scrimmages.

Program participants from the school year haven’t been the only kids attending. The free camp has attracted students from schools all over the city.

“I think it’s really good because it teaches you a lot and it makes you work hard in the hot sun especially,” said Charlie Z. of Annunciation Catholic School as he practiced shots on goal.

“So I think people who don’t know about this should come if they want to learn about soccer.”

For the younger participants, the camp presents an opportunity to get better playing against older, more seasoned campers.

“I like learning new things and knowing that I can get better at soccer going against middle schoolers,” said Tubman’s Kara B., who is going into fifth grade.

Perhaps just as importantly, the camp has indirectly taught participants how to take care of themselves in the extreme heat and still have fun on the soccer field.

“Drinking more water and trying to jog around the field a few laps,” said Kara, explaining how to deal with the heat.”And then drink more water because the water gives me more energy when it circulates through my body.”

Added Emily: “I just dump water on my head!”

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