Chester High School Lady Jacket volleyball players, led by CHS Head Volleyball Coach Sarah Norman and Assistant Coach Sophia Durbin, hosted a successful summer volleyball camp July 15-17 at CHS Colbert Gymnasium.
"This year we had 25 campers register," Norman said. "I was really impressed how the high school players related to the campers and praised their efforts. They never let anyone feel left out or deflated when things didn't go right, and they praised all efforts regardless of outcome."
The camp was held at the high school this year, instead of the air-conditioned Chester Grade School gymnasium.
"This is where we play and we thought the campers might get a kick out of learning and competing on the same court as the Lady Jackets," Norman said, adding it worked out well because the weather got cook for two of the three days.
The early morning camp session was for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. The second session, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. was designed for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The coaches and high school trainers designed age-appropriate workouts.
Everyone seemed focused, motivated and excited to be at camp working alongside the high school players. Daily, they worked on basic volleyball skills, drills, team-building, and the basic rules and routines of playing in a competitive game.
"Even the younger girls in the 3rd-5th grade group were really picking up everything we were teaching," Norman said. "By the second day, they were actually able to take part in laid-back competitive scrimmages. There were even some young ladies who were serving overhanded."
Campers in the 3rd-5th grade session were Raegan Middendorf, Mackinly Davitz, Emma Bogard, Mallorie Homan, Savana Guebert, Aleah Hasemeyer, Joella Eggemeyer, Avery Hasemeyer Brooke Howie, and Brystol Stellhorn.
The 6th-8th grade session campers were Angelina Bower, Hannah Hoskin, Erin Liefer, Lillian Diskey, Gianna Eggemeyer, Haley Hoskin, Jordan Buskhol, Mabry Wingerter, Joshlyn Rhoden, Lexie Mott, Rylie Conley, Whitney Sulser, Olivia Earl, Jasmine Merideth and Brooklyn Gibbs.
Lady Jacket players who served as camp instructors are Maddie Vuchaird, Maggie Clendenin, Cami Schroeder, Hannah Blechle, Marci Haeger, Paige Thomas, Anna Childs, Peyton Clendenin, Reese McCormick, Kendall Williams, Madi Kribs, Kylie Fortner, Aubrey Hopper, Alyssa Seymour, Briley Miles, Kailyn Absher, Reese Chandler, Malia Absher, Josie Kattenbraker, Lauryn Vasquez, Emma Eggemeyer, Paige Vasquez, Lauren Soellner, Hannah Colvis, and Sydney Collins.
"I was really impressed with how well our high school players interacted with the campers," Coach Durbin said. "They had the attention of the young girls from day one and they did a fantastic job of reinforcing the campers at every turn. Most of our Lady Jackets came for the morning session and stayed throughout the day until the late session was over. That is especially impressive to get so much mileage out of teenage girls, especially during the summer. I am proud of our girls!"
Norman said the camp accomplished what they set out to do, which is to get more girls interested in volleyball. It also taught important fundamentals and skills.
"Finally, working with the young campers helped our Lady Jacket players to take their jobs more seriously as role models for young athletes," Norman added. "It gave our girls more reps on the court and they seemed to take pride in being able to demonstrate the proper techniques of each skill and in teaching campers to develop teamwork, dedication and pride in their game."