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Who are the people behind Future Stars? Meet Jordan Snider: From Camper to Camp Site Director

Variety has been the rule, not the exception, throughout Jordan Snider’s Future Stars career – from camper to Site Director.  On a daily basis, Jordan manages a staff of international coaches teaching everything from the latest soccer drills from Chile to STEAM education, providing a joyous and enriching camp experience to children ranging from 6 to 16 years old.

In the Beginning, Jordan Was a Camper

Jordan started his relationship with Future Stars as a young camper and something about the experience and uniqueness of the Future Stars spirit stuck with him.  Over the years, as his role changed — from camper to bus counselor to nurse to tennis coach to soccer coach and now Camp Site Director at SUNY, Purchase – Jordan has learned to thrive with change.

Future Stars Camps has been a part of Jordan’s life since he was a child.  He has had a long standing relationship with co-founders of Future Stars Camps, Charlie VanDercook and Bill Griffin. Working together on their shared passion makes for a lot of hard but fun work.  “I have known Charlie since I was 9 years old. I have seen his children grow up and now he is watching my children grow up. I started working at Future Stars during the summers while I was in college. After I graduated, I started working year round with Future Stars and developed a new relationship with Charlie and Bill. I see them just about every day, and every day we brain storm and discuss ways to make the camp experience even better for the kids.”

A Special Love for Tennis

With all the change and diversity of life experiences, tennis has been a constant part of Jordan’s life and his life at Future Stars.    “I grew up loving all sports but was especially focused on tennis. I was lucky enough to play tennis at Rollins College where our team won the NCAA National Championship in 1991. Tennis has been an important part of my life and I fully reaped all the benefits sports have to offer. For many years after college I taught tennis during the winter months while directing the tennis camp in the summer.”

Today, Future Stars offers a variety of sports camps like basketball, volleyball, swim, and other interesting camps like circus arts, magic and S.T.E.A.M., but when Jordan was a child at Future Stars, there was only a tennis camp.  “I remember many of the coaches, the events both on the tennis courts and off the courts,” says Jordan as he fondly reminisces.  “As a kid, the camp helped me gain self confidence and to take chances. Of course, it also helped my tennis. As a camper it seemed that everyone that worked at the camp was loving what they were doing. They all participated in every activity and seemed to have as much fun as any of the kids. They also had a passion for tennis that was contagious.”

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Finding and Encouraging Passion in Others

“In hiring new coaches, a critical attribute is enthusiasm. They need to love their sport or specialty and enjoy helping others. It is summer camp and has to be fun while at the same time the specific sport or specialty is the common bond at each program. For example, the baseball campers and coaches are all wearing baseball jerseys and having friendly arguments about their favorite player or Yankees vs Mets debates while the basketball campers and coaches are all about LeBron and Steph Curry or the Knicks and the Spurs.”

This approach has had an impact on campers.  In our March 6th blog, Julia Duffy a former camper/counselor, says “Jordan Snider, Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, has had a lasting impression on me because of his dedication to the camp”.  Julia’s respect for Jordan is crystallized as he shares what he values in his chosen profession: “Most important to me,” says Jordan, “is the opportunity to interact directly with children and to watch them grow up.”  Summer Camp is a great opportunity for children to learn who they are. They make lifelong friends and develop skills that transfer to all aspects of their lives. I consider camps to be part of the education system where children get to have more choice and independence.  I love seeing the kids grow during the summer.”

“Watching the kids on Friday afternoons and seeing them off for the weekend with smiles, energy, and even the emotions of saying goodbye is rewarding,” Jordan continues.  “There is pride in knowing that we have helped kids grow up socially, emotionally, and physically during the course of the summer, as well as over many years. When the kids return each year, although they are bigger, it is like they never left. It is now at the point where so many of our counselors used to be campers.”

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Future Stars Camps has been around for 36 years and keeping it fresh while maintaining the values that have made this summer day camp a family tradition are why parents, who attended as kids, want their children to come here.

“Early in my career I knew this was more than a summer job for me when I realized the impact and influence that I was having on the kids as well as the effect they were having on me! It was much more than just helping them become better tennis players. Over the years, I have kept in touch with so many of the “kids” at camp that are now adults, and it is an incredibly rewarding part of the role. I have connections to many different generations of campers and seeing them each go through different stages of life. And what is remarkable to me is how many of the campers have stayed connected and are truly lifelong friends.”

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Preparing for the 1st Camp

A family preparing to send a child to a ‘first ever’ summer camp will likely experience a lot of emotional peaks and valleys. For parents and children alike, there will be rushes of excitement and maybe even a twinge of uncertainty. Something new naturally creates a mixed bag of emotions. Once those timid thoughts are conquered by all the ‘positives’ a child is about to be a part of  camp, it’s time to get everything in order to make it a pleasant success.

It’s About the Children

Parents may have fond memories about summer camps they attended and may naturally want their children to attend the same camp. It may seem like a great idea, but it’s best to include the child in the overall decision of which camp they would like to attend.

Focusing on the current main interest of a child is a great place to start. Is it athletics? Is it academics? Is it drama? There are several camp options available for today’s youth. Giving the child a feeling of ‘ownership’ is a fantastic start to making the camp experience very rewarding.

Prepare the Child for Success

Verify with camp counselors what the child needs to bring to camp, what forms need to be signed (including any Legal Disclaimer or Health Form) prior to camp attendance. As for what the child brings or wears, ask specifics. Taking a child shopping for new sneakers and T-shirts may accelerate the excitement level of a child, but doing so when the camp suggest slightly worn clothes due to the nature of the camp (football, field hockey, e.g.) may turn out to be wasting money.

If camp activities are mainly outdoors a must-bring list should include:

  1. Sunscreen/sunblock
  2. Loose-fit clothing
  3. Proper footwear
  4. Change of socks/T-shirts

Other possible questions to ask:

  1. How are the children grouped? Age? Skill level?
  2. What steps are taken by the camp counselors to address discipline concerns?
  3. How does the camp address a discouraged first-time camper?

Timeliness

Parents need to arrive at drop-off/pick-up sites ahead of time. If there is a traffic tie-up, etc. have the camp phone number available to relay such a reason for a delay. Also, make certain the camp can easily access parents in the event of a child accident or illness.

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Benefits of Attending a Day Camp

Getting into the sports camp scene may seem to be a daunting task upon first glance. A parent wants a child’s camp to be a positive experience for the child (as well as for the parents). No matter the age group, the day camp alternative can be an excellent choice.

Weighing the Advantages

Enjoying the Experience (with limits)

A great reason to choose the day camp option, is the fact the child returns home in the evening. The opportunity to have your children step out of their normal routine of familiar surroundings and friends is provided without the uneasiness of the children having to sleep in a room with others they have just met. The anxiety levels for young athletes will already increase, given the fact they are going to be competing among strangers (at least until the new acquaintances become new friends). Not having to continually impress their new companions in the off-hours of camp allows for a reduction of those anxiety levels by the time the day campers reach their homes.

For the older participants (ages 12+), the day camp experience has the added attraction of being home in time to make arrangements for evening gatherings with friends from school or the neighborhood. Parents with children in this age range should pay particular attention to make sure the camp chosen caters to a broad spectrum of age ranges and skill levels. Camps offering topnotch coaching and advanced training methods are an important criteria for teens to consider.

New Learning with New Friends

Everyone needs to see change as a positive! A main reason for attending an athletic-based camp is to learn new skills. The fundamentals in sports rarely change, but different coaches teach those fundamentals in their own ways. Campers are going to be in a new and different atmosphere, an atmosphere of learning. They will be next to other campers there for the same reason. It creates an opportunity to share the new experiences and creates a natural ‘bonding’ forming new friendships between campers

Throwing Away the Safety Net

Figuratively, of course. Introductions of new ideas, renewed fundamentals – all among new friends – invigorates the athletic senses. It creates the opportunity for a child to go the extra step, to become a bit more of a risk taker. This lends to accelerating the learning process while also bringing a newfound enjoyment for the camp athletes.

Advantages for Parents

Allowing Children to ‘Spread their Wings’– without entirely losing control.

Specialty day camps allow campers to discover themselves on and off the field, in a surrounding they are familiar with. Your camper will have the freedom to explore and end their days dreaming of the goals they scored, baskets made or aces served against other campers they may see during their regular season. Nothing beats seeing the smile on your campers face after a fun-filled day of camp!

Less Worries and Concerns

The hours of day camp may alleviate a lot of the hustle and clock-watching parents must endure. At least for a few days, parents do not have to be a summer fun guide, scheduling events to occupy a child’s day. A daily drop off and pick up may provide a bit of stress reduction for parents.

New Conversation at the Dinner Table

A new daily experience for a child creates additional questions for parents to ask. The interaction can be both verbal and physical. Let the child explain and demonstrate what was learned at camp. This will also allow parents to see the child’s level of interest for the camp and can assist in determining if additional camp attendance is welcomed by the child.

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Sports and Child Development

Your child is growing and building new skills every day. Even though sports seem mostly physical, they also include other areas of development. More specifically, all of the areas of development – cognitive, social, and emotional. Understanding the connection between what your child is doing right now, can do, will do, and might not do for a while, and athletic types of activities can help to make the most of your child’s sporting experience. Learning about the sequence of child development, major milestones, and what to expect (and when) in terms of team play gives you the power to pick a sport that suits your child’s needs and abilities. So, what’s going on with your awesome athlete’s development? Check out the milestone markers that may directly affect what and how your child plays!

Preschoolers

It seems like your cute little baby just learned how to walk. And now you want to put them onto the soccer field? What? That’s right, kids as young as the preschool years are ready to start a sport. This doesn’t mean that your 3-year-old is passing the ball and scoring goals ala David Beckham. But, your sporty toddler can begin with basic activities that teach teamwork, listening/paying attention, balance and coordination. Look for these sports-related developmental milestones during the 3- to 5-year period:

Motor development. Your child is developing the abilities to:

  • Run
  • Kick a ball
  • Hop
  • Stand on one foot (for a few seconds)
  • Throw a ball (overhand, at this point)
  • Swing a bat (hitting a ball off of a tee)

Cognitive development. Your preschooler is building skills to:

  • Understand the concept of time (before the game, during the game, after the game)
  • Count up to 10
  • Follow up to a three-part command
  • Recall stories or some information that the child is told verbally
  • Participate in pretend play
  • Understand and follow rules (this is still emerging)

Social/emotional development. The milestones during the preschool years include:

  • Cooperating with others
  • Sharing
  • Taking turns
  • Resolving conflicts (this skill is only starting to emerge – the child may need adult help with this one)
  • Act independently
  • Show empathy

Kindergarteners and Young Elementary School-Aged Children

During the next few years your child is refining those preschool-period milestones. While you shouldn’t expect your young athlete to have a full grasp of sharing and turn-taking during the preschool years, as an older grade schooler you can. These budding abilities, along with developing empathy and resolving conflicts, help your child to better understand teamwork and good sportsmanship concepts.

Your child is also now able to follow a longer list of directions (in other words, more than three steps) and understands that rules are rules. During this period, kids are able to start learning about the more sophisticated rules of game play and follow a coach’s instruction.

As your sporting child is learning more about how the game is played, they’re also developing complex physical skills. Instead of stumbling often or missing the ball most of the time, your child is better able to aim and coordinate movements. This may show up as your child goes from hitting a ball off of a tee to hitting one with a bat, finally getting the ball into the basket or when they are able to move up to a new level/league.

Older Children

By the time your child is nearing the end of elementary school or starting middle school, they’re completely able to follow the sport’s rules. Young athletes, at this age, also have the ability to listen attentively to a coach, follow directions and demonstrate good sportsmanship.

When it comes to physical development, older kids are tackling complex motor tasks, building strength and improving flexibility. At this point your child may be developmentally ready for a travel team or league that provides a more competitive environment. Keep in mind, your player is still a child. They may understand that no one wins all of the time, but they won’t like losing. Your child may still stomp off the field or break out in tears when they don’t get a win.

Teens

Physically your teen may be on par with an adult when it comes to game play. Teenage athletes often specialize in one specific sport and have an amazing ability to focus on training. But, that doesn’t mean all teens have chosen one standout athletic activity. The teen years are a time of experimentation and trying to sort identity out. This may mean that your child who once loved tennis now wants to try soccer or volleyball. It’s not that your teen is indecisive, lazy or being difficult. Instead, it’s more likely that they are trying out all of their options.

Keep in mind, developmental milestones aren’t set in stone. While the sequence is fairly predictable, some children meet milestones right on time and others may be early or late.

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Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Sports

Boys play football and girls ice skate. Right? Isn’t this how it goes when it comes to sports – there are boys’ sports and then the ones that girls participate in. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even though we’ve come a long way since the days when girls stood on the sidelines cheering for the ‘big, strong boys’, gender stereotypes still persist. What can you do as a parent or a coach to break down these biases that ring false?

Avoid Stereotyped Speech

“You throw like a girl!” How many times have you heard that one? It’s the middle of baseball practice and one of the boys gently tosses the ball. It totally misses its target. Suddenly someone (it could be another child, a parent, or even a coach) makes this gendered statement. It’s so common, that you might not even think twice about it. But, what does it even mean anyway? Are girls so weak that they can barely throw a ball? Little League superstar Mo’ne Davis would probably have something to say about that.

Along with watching what you say, stay on the lookout for other people’s gendered speech. If you overhear a child spouting off stereotypes, don’t immediately jump in and yell. Stop the child and ask them what they mean and why they said it. In some cases, the child might be repeating something they heard (and have no idea what it truly means). Discuss why it’s not okay to speak this way, why this type of talk is insulting and how both girls and boys can play sports – all sports.

Be a Role Model

Who says that only dads can coach baseball or that mom’s role is to hand out the after-game snacks? Acting as a role model is an easy way to show your child, or your team, what you mean when you say, “We don’t believe in gender stereotypes.”

Asking a few of the moms to coach or help coach (or volunteering yourself) shows the players that women can be just as knowledgeable and ‘into’ sports as men are. This type of traditional (in other words, stereotyped) role reversal helps girls to see that they can do anything a boy can do, while at the same time showing boys that females can be strong sports figures.

Look to the Pros

Professional sports figures have an almost superhero-like status, especially when it comes to how kids view them. Use this to teach your child (or your team) that gender stereotypes shouldn’t exist. Do some biographical work and take a look at some of the most powerful, famous and influential women in sports history. This includes super-star sisters Venus and Serena Williams, Monica Abbott, Rhonda Rousey, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Maria Sharapova, Mia Hamm, Billie Jean King and many, many others.

Yes, learning about these awesome athletes gives your little girl a boost when it comes to being confident in a woman’s ability. But, it’s equally as important that boys learn about these fabulous female figures too. They need to know that men aren’t the only ones who dominate in the athletic arena.

Try a Boys-and-Girls League

Some sports leagues/classes don’t differentiate between boys’ and girls’ teams. If you have the opportunity to try one of these out, take it. This shows both young boys and girls that they can play the same sports, in the same way, at the same time. It breaks the gender stereotypes and forces kids to realize that they’re all equal when it comes to game play.

So, the next time your son says, “That boy runs like a girl” or your daughter says, “Eww football! That’s for boys,” turn their ideas around. Let them know that men and women (or boys and girls) can all be athletes – no matter what the game is!

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Girls and Sports: Mallory Pugh

Girls and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly. Really! Even though sports such as football, baseball and even soccer seem like they’re dominated by men, take a look around at all of the awesome women winners out there. From tennis greats such as the Williams’ sisters to the embers of the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team, girls totally represent when it comes to sports. One of these fabulous women is Mallory Pugh. She might not be much older than you, but she is already a sports star on the rise. At only 18-years-old, Pugh was the youngest player ever in the U.S. Women’s National Team player pool. And, that’s not all.

Bright Beginnings

Even though Mallory Pugh is a well-known soccer sensation now, she once was a little girl who tagged along to her older sister’s club practices. It was there, at these practices, that her mad soccer skills started shining bright. Of course, that doesn’t mean Pugh hadn’t played before. She started at the young age of four, and then followed in her sister’s footsteps. It didn’t take long for Mallory to become a standout though. In 2010 and 2011, she helped her team (Real Colorado) win state titles. In 2013 and 2014, Pugh helped Real Colorado win runner-up at the national championships. She was also named MVP of her regional tournament.

During Pugh’s junior year in high school, the soccer player scored a whopping 24 goals and had 12 assists in 18 games, helping her (high school) team get to the state semifinals.

Olympic Goal

She might just be a girl from a town outside of Denver, Colorado, but when Pugh hit the Olympic soccer field in the 2016 games, she made a stir. That’s to say the least. The then-18-year-old player was the second youngest woman to compete in an Olympic soccer game since 1904. Not only did she make news for this, but she also became the youngest player to score a goal during an Olympic game – and that is ever!

Player of the Year

As a high school junior, Pugh won Gatorade’s National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Award. But, that’s not the only award this young player has won. In 2014, she also won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Youth National Player of the Year for club soccer.

Sports and Education

Don’t think that Pugh put off school entirely just because she has an amazing soccer ability. Yes, she had to take time off from her education to train and compete at an Olympic level. But, the sports standout also graduated from high school and made plans to attend college. Her post-high school educational career includes attending UCLA (starting in January of 2017), where she will also play for their soccer team.

What can you learn from Mallory Pugh? That with hard work, focus and practice, you can do anything you set your mind on! To score an Olympic goal at the age of 18 shows that anything is possible. If you come up against obstacles, or someone tells you that you just won’t succeed, think about Pugh. Remember that there was a time when she was just a little girl trying to follow her sister’s lead. Now she’s a leader – showing the world that women are exceptional athletes too!

Photo Credit:  Makaiyla Willis (CC by 2.0)

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Chronic Conditions, Kids and Sports: Type 1 Diabetes

Having a chronic health condition doesn’t mean that your child has to sit out of the game. Plenty of athletes have health issues that don’t stop them from practicing, playing and competing. One of the major chronic conditions that affects athletes is type 1 diabetes. Pro football players Jay Cutler and Kendall Simmons have it, and so do basketball players Chris Dudley and Adam Morrison, and baseball player Ron Santo. Formerly known just as juvenile diabetes, type 1 often has an onset in childhood or adolescence (but it’s also possible to develop it as an adult as well). People with this disease do not produce insulin on their own. That means they need to monitor their blood sugar, watch what they eat and take insulin injections. Whether your child has this chronic condition or you coach a child with it, understanding how type 1 diabetes and sports impacts each other is critical for the athlete’s health and success.

Blood Sugar and Activity

It’s common to see a drop in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels with or after exercise. What does this mean for a child who plays sports? To start with, it’s absolutely essential for the child to monitor their blood sugar during practice and directly after. Of course, proper blood glucose testing is always a must-do. When you add in physical activity, the child may see a sudden drop. These lows can result in serious symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, nausea, seizures, or unconsciousness.

Many diabetics are able to feel lows as they come on, before they get too severe. But, a child who is intensely into an activity or doesn’t want to leave the playing field may ignore the signs. This puts them at risk for developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Keep in mind, lows don’t always happen with exercise. For some diabetics, activity-induced hypoglycemia strikes minutes or hours after the exercise is over. This makes post-practice/post-game monitoring extra-important.

Keeping Lows Away

Along with monitoring, the child’s doctor may recommend eating an extra snack before or during exercise. Before starting any new sport, always speak with the medical pro. Ask the doctor for recommendations on dealing with potential lows. Every child is different, and you need to make sure that the treatment matches the diabetic’s overall plan and needs.

Most children will need to keep a small snack nearby just in case of an unexpected low. This is typically equal to 15 grams of carbs, and may include a juice box, fruit snacks or some other carbohydrate. Children can also carry glucose tablets to eat if needed. In the event of a low blood glucose emergency, injectable glucagon is a medication that can raise the level. Diabetics should carry a glucagon kit with them at all times, just in case. Parents and coaches should know when and how to use these injectable kits. They are literally life savers.

Some children may need to stop part-way through practice or a game to test their blood sugar and eat a small snack. This can prevent or reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

Spotting Problems

It’s the middle of a soccer game. One of the children, a diabetic, is starting to seem sluggish. The child is confused, complaining of weakness, and appears nervous. These are often symptoms of hypoglycemia. These, along with other signs such as headaches, sweating, chills, clamminess, irritability, sleepiness, anger (for no real reason) and lack of coordination, may all mean that the child needs a dose of carbs.

If you spot a possible problem, stop the child immediately. Time is not a diabetic’s friend when it comes to lows. Have the child test their blood sugar. If the level is low, treat it with glucose tablets or a snack. Instead of letting the child go back into the game right away, wait 15 minutes. Have the child re-test. If the blood sugar is still low, have another serving of carbs and wait again to re-test. If it’s normal, the child can go back to the activity.

Medical Professionals and Education

Including the child’s doctor in the choice to play a sport is necessary. Unless there are other issues going on, it’s unlikely that the doctor would nix the notion of playing a sport. The medical professional can create a revised treatment plan, taking the new physical activity into account. The doctor can also provide coaches or teammates with extra information on type 1 diabetes. Along with the doctor, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, are resources that offer plenty of easy to understand information.

Type 1 diabetes is a complex chronic condition. Exercise can bring on life-threatening lows. Obviously, this is a scary thought for any diabetic, parent or coach. Even though physical activity can drop the child’s blood sugar, exercise and athletics are important for the diabetic’s overall health. Unless a doctor says otherwise, quitting the team because of a diabetes diagnosis is completely unnecessary. From pee-wee football players to pro stars, athletes of all ages practice, play their games and still manage type 1 diabetes in healthy ways.

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4 Things Every Teen Sports Player Secretly Thinks (But Would Never Admit)

Some things are best left unsaid, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in thought bubbles. Here are some things all teen sports players think but would never admit.

You might not want to admit the following, because they’re secret, but that doesn’t make them any less true. You’d be hard pushed to find a teen sports player willing to admit to thinking any of this, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. Here are just four of the things every teen sports player secretly thinks but would never admit:

1. Look good, Feel good, Play good

Look, nobody is going to admit this. It’s way too vain. But every teen sports player in the history of teen sports  has taken the time to admire their reflection whilst wearing their uniform. Hey, those uniforms cost a lot of money and they signify greatness, you can’t blame a teen sports player for loving how they look. Not that they’d ever admit it.

2. Sometimes Sports Aren’t Fun

Even the most dedicated of sports players don’t love getting up at 6 a.m. to run around in the rain. Who would enjoy that?! Certainly not a teenager, that’s for sure. Getting up early on weekends is tough, even if you’re going at it in the hopes of being the greatest sports player that ever lived. And yeah, sometimes even teen sports players press the snooze button a few too many times.

3. Daydream Believing

Most teen sport players will act coy, if you ask whether they dream of making it big. After all, the chance of it happening is slim. But, deep down, that’s exactly what every teen sports player is hoping for. They dream of glory, fat paychecks and the celebrity lifestyle, of course they do.

4. Playing Sports Helps with Romance

Look, it’s nice to believe that it’s your adorable hairstyle, quick wit and crooked smile that wins the heart of everyone around, but every teen sports player knows it’s really the fetching uniform, healthy physique and school-wide celebrity status that helps them get their beau. Not that they’ll ever admit it out loud, because that’s not why anybody plays sports. Obviously.

What’s missing off this list? Comment below to add your secret thoughts.

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Who are the people behind Future Stars? Julia Duffy’s Journey from Camper to Counselor

First day of camp and jittery nerves go together like bread and butter.  Julia Duffy looks back at her 12-year-old self and remembers quite clearly how nervous she was.  As she got off the bus to walk across the long field, she met a camper from a neighboring town.  By the time they reached the end of the field, her nerves had calmed down and she had made a new friend.  For Julia, this chance encounter ended up leading to a long-term friendship with her new friend’s older sister.

Julia and her younger brother were outgrowing their local town camp and family friends recommended Future Stars Camp.  Since then, Julia and her brother have spent all or most of their last 6 summers at Future Stars’ SUNY Purchase Camp location.

Now at 18 and a senior in high school, Julia was a camp counselor for the last 2 years and 3 years ago she was a Counselor-in-Training (CIT).  Her young brother was a CIT last year.  Julia says, ” I went to soccer camp with my brother but I quickly made new friends. I still keep in touch with a lot of campers from my first year.  I even plan to visit some of them at their universities”

Julia loved soccer camp, she tried tennis camp but came right back to soccer.  Julia plays soccer for her high school and attributes her game skills to her first counselor, Anna Edwards.  Anna is now Julia’s manager and current Soccer Director at Future Stars (FS) Camp.   Great rapport with your manager improves employees’ potential and morale, Julia says, “I feel really comfortable asking Anna for advice when I need help with my own counseling.”

At camp, Julia made a lot of new friends from different towns and even different countries.  She remembers playing soccer with French and Italian campers.  When asked what her camp experience was like she said, ” My time at FS Camps, in a nutshell, was a great experience where I made a lot of new, diverse friends who all shared a common interest with me.”

However, her voice takes a real lilt when she talks about how she loved the drills and games both as a camper and as a counselor.  “Typically, each day of the week at soccer camp has a theme. Monday is dribbling, Tuesday is passing, Wednesday is 3v3 tournaments, Thursday is shooting, and Friday is competition day. The counselors really kept me engaged with a good mix of drills and games, along with competition to get us all moving. This experience later taught me to be engaging as a counselor as well. Individually, I’d say I became more confident in my abilities as a player through countless skill drills, and as a team player, I really learned to work with other players of different skill levels.”

Julia’s FS Camp journey from young camper to mature counselor has been fulfilling.  “Being a soccer counselor, in my opinion, means keeping the campers engaged and having fun, as well as, teaching them about a sport I love. I’ve been a counselor for two years and I am playing soccer at my high school. I am not looking to play soccer at a varsity level in college, but possibly at a club level depending on where I end up.”

There are so many aspects to camp and Julia said, “My favorite part of Future Stars were the scrimmages at the end of the day, where different groups of different ages came together and formed teams to play a full 11v11 game. The counselors would join together and have a “draft” and we would have a week long tournament with our teams, and everyone really gets into it.”

You can’t talk about a day camp and not mention food.  “There is an option to bring lunch but the food was so good at camp.  We had a salad bar, pasta station, sandwich station and hot lunch.  It was really cool to go into a college cafeteria and chose what I wanted to eat.”

Future Stars Camps is not just all about the drills, games and the food.  ” Jordan Snider, Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, has had a lasting impression on me because of his dedication to the camp.  Jordan makes an effort to visit soccer camp every day, and even takes the time to join a scrimmage or game.  Every year that I come back to FS, I see a lot of the same people but I also make new friends. It has been a great experience for me, from camper to counselor, and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in soccer.”

Julia, wherever you end up, they will be lucky to have you.  Thank you too for all the gifts that you have brought to us!

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What Can You Do When Your Child Wants to Play, But Is Injured?

A sprain, a strain, or a broken bone. Your child is injured. Injuries during athletics are common. There are more than 3.5 million childhood sports-related injuries per year, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Whether your child’s injury is fairly minor or it’s much more major, it’s likely that they’ll have to sit on the sidelines – at least temporarily. Here’s where the problem comes in. Your child understands the issues that come along with injuries. The pain is real and your child  knows that they have to heal. But, that doesn’t stop your young athlete from wanting to play, practice and compete. What now?

Create an Alternative Role

Participation is a major part of sports play. Your child isn’t just an athlete, they’re a team member too! Now that your child is out for the season (or at least for right now), they need a new role. Talk to the coach, asking what your child can do to stay actively a part of the team.

It’s possible that your child can be in charge of equipment, help pass out water/snacks or act as the team mascot. Get creative and look for ways that your child can do more than just sit alone. Is your child artsy? Maybe it’s time to draw a few “Go team!” banners. Maybe your child loves cooking. Help them to bake cupcakes in team colors or organize a bake sale (to benefit the team) during the game. Obviously, these aren’t the only ideas. Work with the coach, and the rest of the team, to brainstorm other roles your child can play.

Modify the Workout

It may seem like there’s little point in going to practice if your child can’t run down the field, lift weights, or hit a ball. Even though your child can’t get completely in on the action, sitting on the couch at home isn’t the only option – it can be an unhealthy one.

No, your child can’t work exactly like everyone else is. But, your young athlete can do a modified version. Work around your child’s injuries, looking for ways that they can join in or get some sort of physical activity. This might mean extra running (if your child’s arm or hand is injured) or doing upper body-only exercises (if their lower body is hurt).

How does this idea play out on the practice field? Let’s say your child has a broken hand. When the rest of the baseball team is practicing throwing and catching, your child can run laps or do sprints in-between the bases.

Be a Cheerleader

Okay, so this doesn’t mean your child needs to join the school’s cheer squad. Chances are that their injury would prohibit this anyway. Instead of silently sitting in the bleachers and watching the team play, encourage your child to cheer as loud as they can. Turn watching from a passive activity to a totally active one. Whether your child has signs to hold up or is just using their voice, this is an easy way to make your athlete feel like they’re still part of the team.

Watch and Learn

Doing isn’t the only way to learn. Your child can also learn a lot by watching what’s going on. Even though no one wants an injury, this presents a perfect opportunity for some in-depth learning about the sport. Now your child has the chance to sit back and truly see what’s going on in the rink, on the field, or in the court.

Did a play go completely not as expected? Ask your child what they saw that contributed to it. Maybe there’s a sports superstar on your child’s team. Have your child watch what the other player does, learning from their moves and actions. From the best plays of the day to the worst flubs, your child can use this time as a chance to improve their skills through careful observation.

Choosing an alternative way for your child to participate in the sport when they can’t play is a motivating way to keep your young athlete’s interest up. Keep in mind, not all children respond in the same way to injury. Some kids are quick to get in there and cheer for their team, while others let the injury seriously get them down. Talk to your child, asking what ideas they have for participating during this time. Try incorporating their ideas with yours, and the coaches. Make the most of this time and before you know it your pint-sized pitcher or tiny tennis star will be back in the game!