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Soccer Camp 2014

The goals are folded up, the clipboards are put away, and the grass stains have finally washed off my knees: the Community Building Soccer Camp is over for another year. Last week, 51 young campers, a dozen coaches, and many other volunteers converged at Grant Park for what was truly an awesome camp. The campers had tons of fun rotating through soccer skills stations and playing small-sided scrimmages. We finished the week with an all-camp “World Cup” in which the kids named their teams after various countries from the quarterfinals of the real World Cup. The two teams that won the round-robin stage played in a championship match in front of the whole camp. I was thrilled to hear campers who were disappointed just minutes before because their team hadn’tDSC_5754 made the final start cheering “Ar-gen-tina! Ar-gen-tina!” and “Ne-ther-lands! Ne-ther-lands!” for their friends – and continue cheering for 20 minutes straight. Wow, they have energy!

Speaking of energy, I want to give a huge thank you to the coaches who kept up with them all week. They showed awesome dedication in giving up work or summer vacation to run around with kids, and they were so hard-working and adaptable. I think the campers showed their love of their coaches most clearly during Water Wars on Wednesday by dragging them under the park’s splash pad and holding them there until their neon yellow camp T-shirts were soaked through.

I must also thank the other volunteers. They brought over supplies, provided medical care, and held down the fort at our registration tables. Their presence let the coaching team relax and focus on the kids rather than on the little crises that these other volunteers swiftly contained. As the head coach in my first summer at soccer camp, I relied on these people who are the core of soccer camp, with many helping year after year.

As I reflect, there are many others to be grateful to as well:

The parents and guardians deserve thanks for getting their kids outdoors and moving for a week of soccer camp, not to mention for figuring out how to get them to and from camp every day.

Thank you to Refugee Connections Spokane for translating our flyers and registration forms into several languages and to Grant Elementary for helping us reach students receiving free and reduced-price lunch. These collaborations furthered our commitment to underserved populations of Spokane.

We also thank Grant Park for being home to camp for the past three years.

Finally, thank you to our community sponsors: Mountain Gear, South Perry Pizza, Windfall Thrift Store, HICO Market, Zip 2 Water, KYRS, Trader Joe’s, GSI Outdoors, Target, Rosauers, and the Community Building Foundation. They directly supported this camp’s operations and created the look of happy astonishment on one boy’s face when he realized that, thanks to South Perry Pizza, he could keep his soccer ball at the end of the week. Running a free camp requires a lot of community support, and we are very lucky to have that in Spokane and the South Perry neighborhood.

One thing I love about Spokane is that people with good hearts come together, work together, and make wonderful things like our soccer camp happen. The community commitment has made this free community soccer camp successful for 15 years, and I hope it will keep serving Spokane for many years to come.

–Post by Gail Gallaher



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