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Camps Can Have Positive Influence On Today’s Youths

L’Observateur / June 8, 1998

Events of this week got me thinking about the importance of getting our children involved in different activities at a young age.

Leisl Hasbrouck, a local 12-year old, placed second in her age group at the National Future Tour event in Greensville, Miss., last weekend. RiversideAcademy held its annual Lady Rebel basketball camp this past week with 16 young ladies ages 7 to 12 learning the fundamentals of basketball. Andon a personal note, my 4-year-old niece, Caitlyn, has her dance recital tomorrow.

In the upcoming weeks, St. Charles Catholic head baseball coach FrankMonica is holding three baseball camps and Riverside is holding a boys’ basketball camp. Nicholls State University is holding four baseball campsessions while Southeastern Louisiana University is hosting a variety of camps from baseball to basketball to tennis. And the St. John the BaptistParish Recreation Department is holding its annual summer camp.

There are also a variety of other programs, from summer track and junior golf to swimming and soccer. And of course, there is always youthbaseball and softball.

Getting a youngster involved in an activity, whether it be sports or arts or music, is important to the development of the child. It can build self-esteem and confidence as well as a sense of accomplishment. Just look atthe face of any little leaguer the first time he gets a hit or catches a pop up.

Team sports can develop social skills and the importance of working with others to accomplish a goal. Playing on a team can also teach a youngsterdiscipline and succeeding under pressure. And many a lifelong friendshiphas been developed on the diamond or on the court.

One note on that. Parents and coaches, yes the games are important, butlet the players enjoy it for what it is – a game. This is a chance for a childto grow, not a life and death situation. Let the players have fun. I saw asign at Bonnabel High School the other day that summed it up perfectly – “Let the players play, the coaches coach and the umpires umpire.” The fansjob should be to cheer for their players and encourage them.

Encouragement is exactly what these programs can provide today’s youngsters. With all the influences that our children face in today’ssociety, what is wrong with throwing one more good one into the mix? They give the youngsters something to do with their free time, keeping them off the streets and helping them becoming productive members of society.

Not only do the children win, but so does the community. Juvenile crime,which is becoming more and more prevalent, can be lessened, helping both our local police departments and court systems.

We live in a world where our children are being forced to grow up faster and faster. Why not enroll them in something positive at a young age andgive them a head start on the road of life?

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