Sporting summer camps around the island have finished up as students get set for school next week. From football to rugby and boxing self-defense camps; many kids will be leaving this summer with a few new skills in their arsenal.
FC International were amoung many local organizations holding camps this year. Camp Technical Director and coach Elbert McLean has been a part of FC International’s leading staff for nearly three decades. He told Cay 03 Sports, the number of campers this year dropped in numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year’s numbers were less than what we had last year,” said McLean. “Last year we had over 85 kids here but this year we had 53 or something like that but it definitely had something to do with the virus.” FC International is a free football camp put on every year primarily for kids that are less fortunate financially.
“I know that it’s something the kids look forward to every summer and if we didn’t put these camps on, what would the kids be doing,” said McLean.
According to Mclean, the camp abided by governments safety measures that outlines sanitizing and the wearing of face masks when off the field.
“Without the assistance of our sponsors and the support of the government, we wouldn’t be able to provide this platform for kids during the summer, so thank you,” said FC International’s President Kennedy Ebanks.
The Cayman Islands Rugby Club was one of the front running organizations holding summer camps as well. Edward Westin took lead for the rugby summer camp alongside Venasio Tokatokavanua.
“It’s been good,” said Westin. “We got big numbers out and a good mix of kids ranging from six years old all the way up to fourteen.”
The rugby camp started back in July and ended on Friday (21 August). While Westin’s primary focus was on the campers, he also saw the opportunity for players who compete in the rugby league to develop their coaching skills.
“So we have about six or seven of our under 19 players here working with the camps and just growing their coaching skills which will ultimately help them in their game as well,” said Westin.
One of the junior rugby players helping out was Robert Eyers. He told Cay 03 Sports; the overall experience was pleasing.
“It’s fun,” said Eyers. “Playing games like capture the flag is really cool and another thing that’s really cool is some of these kids I’ve seen in previous camps and they have really developed.”
The Cayman Islands Boxing Association (CIBA) held a camp of their own, teaching kids the fundamentals of boxing, how boxing began and the techniques on how to become a great athlete. CIBA were cautious with their numbers, allowing only 20 kids at the gym each day.
A video captured from the CIBA Facebook page shows Cayman’s boxing head coach Floyd Trumpet joined in on a exercise that required 15 jump squats in less than 20 seconds; the group of seven on the day, finished the activity in fourteen seconds.
“I wasn’t really into teaching boxing in a fun way, I was always into goal oriented training,” said Trumpet. “But having been a part of the summer camp; it opened my eyes to a new level of interaction with children in a fun way. I had to adapt to a fun way of coaching boxing.”
“I learnt this from the two junior coaches who were apart of the coaching staff at the camp ( Brianna Kerr and Sabien Barnes),” Trumpet added. “They are still in their teens and they had this easy going way with the kids that I did not have. But I gradually got into the groove of things and even participated in some of the fun activities. It was a great experience.”
Besides the traditional activities, the camp also had a special day where the kids would partake in games outside of boxing.
“We had a fun Friday, where coach Brianna would bring in her video game and have the kids bring in their own remotes,” said CIBA Operations Manager Tracey Seymour
“We didn’t have them stay on the game the entire day,” Seymour added. “We also put on a water balloon fight, where they come dress and prepared to get wet. Which a lot of the kids preferred over the video game.”