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Daily Newsletter – July 31, 2019

Good morning from Capital Camps!

Imagine walking through Olympic Park during the Summer Olympics. To your right, world-class sprinters warming up for what could be the biggest race of their lives. To your left, crowds streaming inside the arena, eager to see megastar Simone Biles amaze on the tumbling mat. Looking ahead, a group of 30 absurdly tall and muscular men and women, outfitted in Nike sweat suits, work on their jump shots on the outdoor basketball court.

Although the fields and courts of Capital Camps might not produce the same awe and celebrity prowess, I feel a similar sensory overload of sport, as I make my rounds throughout main camp, checking in on the many different athletic activities here running simultaneously.

My route begins at the soccer field, where our two soccer specialists are beginning a game of “Power and Finesse” for our rising stars in Reich Village. Taking a touch on the first pass from almost near midfield, a Reich girl loads up and unleashes a strike into the upper left corner of the goal. Then, she runs forward, hoping to use some finesse to slide the follow-up pass under the goalie’s outstretched arms. Alas, the shot goes wide, but having made the first shot, she returns to the back of line having advanced to the next round.

I stop next at the tennis and basketball courts, where two versions of Knockout have ignited a fiery, but friendly, sense of competition within two Benjamin Village cabins. At tennis, a third grade boy puts a shot right down the sideline to win the game. His arms shoot up as he realizes what he has just done. Not quite the Olympic gold medal, but the joy seems comparable.

Meanwhile, over at basketball, a fourth grade girl trips over her friend’s shoe, scraping her knee in the process. Though her counselors quickly come to her aid, the first person to the girl’s side is her friend who accidentally caused the fall. The friend bends down, apologizes, and gives her injured friend a hug before helping her up and walking her over to the sideline to get some ice. Just like the Olympics, I see sportsmanship and camaraderie trumping victory every day here at camp.

In need of some shade during Chug (hobby) time, I head to the Leadership Center, where Zumba and Martial Arts are in full swing. As a group of Kaufmann Village girls helps co-lead a dance to “Salute,” a Benjamin Village girl approaches the Zumba specialist to ask if she can lead the next dance. As “This is Me” (The Greatest Showman) echoes off the walls, all eyes turn to our young camper, who spontaneously choreographs an incredible, complex, and fun dance that has everyone getting into the music. And yet, with all this going on, some future black belts practice their roundhouse kicks in a “Red-Light-Green-Light”-meets-Martial-Arts game.

As my journey through Capital Camps Park comes to end, I watch some Macks Village campers spike a volleyball into the sand and erupt in celebration, as they congratulate each other on the point won. At the same time, an LIT hits his first bull’s-eye on the archery range, a feat seven years in the making.

Small and big events like these happen all day long, every day. Every day, our campers push themselves to improve their skills on the pitch, the field, the court, and the sand. And every day, our campers play these sports together, supporting each other through the triumphs and the tribulations. Today, we’ll do it all again. It’s surely not an Olympic level of play. But in terms of spirit and sportsmanship? We’re not just pretty darn close – we may even be ahead of the curve.

Have a great day!

Jake Shulman

Sports Director

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