As the summer of 2021 kicked off, it was a breath of fresh air coming out of the Covid-19 school year and the previous summer where everyone was in lockdown due to the virus. The summer of 2021 promised renewed traditions and the ability to get outside and play with your neighbors and classmates. It also offered something that parents and athletes alike missed the summer before, Bronco athletic summer camps.
Dayton Athletics has always brought opportunities for students to improve their skills set during the summer. The young athletes have an opportunity to work with the high school and junior high coaches and hone the skills that will help those athletes become successful. Athletic Director Jeff Nations says that the summer camps do something else, “Our summer camps allow our coaches to start building lifelong relationships with our athletes beginning at a young age. Our elementary students learn our coaches by name and start building that trust that it takes in order to help them become better athletes as well as people and students”.
The numbers for these summer camps have been record-setting according to Nations. “We have seen an incredible number of athletes attend our summer camps this year. It is extremely encouraging to me and our coaching staff to see the excitement from the young athletes as well as the commitment from their parents. Parent involvement and commitment are the most important components of a young athlete’s development. It is not the commitment of the athlete, they can’t drive at their age and they have to depend on their parents to take them to camps, practice, and their games. The kids are always ready to go play, they just need that parent or guardian to commit and to help them get to where they are going. We have a great group of parents right now that want to see their young athletes be successful and are willing to make those sacrifices.”
Dayton Athletics provided camps in the following sports this summer: boys and girls basketball, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, tennis, softball, baseball, and ended the summer with the football camp. For the majority of these camps, attendance averaged close to 100 athletes per day ranging from grades 1st through 9th grade students. Camps were divided by age levels so that athletes could receive the proper skills training based on their age. The younger grades 1st-4th concentrated on the very basic of skills for the foundations while the older grades 5th-9th were working on more challenging and upper-level skill sets. “Our coaches do an incredible job of working with the babies and really building a love for the game and excitement that will help those young players want to be involved and to learn. It takes a lot of preparation to be able to pull one of these camps off especially with the numbers that we had this summer. I give our coaches huge kudos for making sure that all camps were organized, fun and learning-based,” Nations added.
“Bleeding Purple” starts early for these young athletes and instilling Bronco Pride starts at home with parents that want to see not only their children succeed but also the school where their athletes will eventually participate. Dayton ISD has some outstanding coaches that care about their athletes, and it showed this summer in the camps and the level of teaching provided to all of the athletes. Nations added, “Our athletic department has a lot of pride and tradition, we want to do everything in our power as a coaching staff to make Dayton proud and to honor the athletes of the past by building on that tradition. As I told our coaching staff, I expect great things from all of our sports, and I believe it starts right here with these camps and building the excitement of these young athletes to become great Broncos.”