This story was originally published in the spring 2012 issue of Harker Quarterly.
It’s that time of year again, when spring fever hits and busy families begin planning ahead for the summer. And, thanks to an array of new sports camps and expanded programming, students and parents alike can rest assured knowing that when school’s out, summer fun will definitely be in!
With summer fast approaching, veteran program director Kelly Espinosa briefed the Harker Quarterly about the many options to choose from. “Harker has always had tennis, soccer, swimming and sports performance camps,” said Espinosa. “But new this year are football, basketball, volleyball, water polo and aquatics discovery camps.”
Moreover, she added, many of the existing programs have been upgraded. “We have everything a camp consumer could want,” enthused Espinosa. Yet, while Harker designed its summer camp offerings with its student body in mind, they are also appreciated by the general public. In fact, said Espinosa, some campers go on to become Harker students.
Long known for its academic success, Harker’s new sports programs are further building its reputation as a great place for athletics as well. Run by mature educators who are not only highly skilled coaches but role models, the program navigates the delicate balance between having fun and working hard, encouraging campers to improve skills and develop teamwork.
Summer Camp+ K-6
For children in K-6, Summer Camp+ offers a full day of morning academics and afternoon activities. Located on Harker’s lower school campus, parents choose sessions by their preferred format, with full-day, partial-day and morning-only options.
This year music workshops have been expanded and are open to instrumental students entering grades 2-6, with at least one year of experience playing violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, guitar, piano or percussion. These two-week workshops offer exposure to music theory and composition, improvisation, ear training, singing, ensembles and full orchestral playing. A concert will be performed at the end of each session, and a recording and printed score given to each student.
Summer Camp+ really keeps children hopping, learning and playing together, from morning to afternoon. And parents appreciate the flexible scheduling possibilities.
Summer Institute 6-12
Harker’s Summer Institute gives students in grades 6-12 the chance to earn credits, learn new skills and follow their passions. Harker students aren’t the only ones with these options – students from other schools are welcome to attend most of the classes. New this year are art classes, including portfolio preparation in drawing, 2-D and 3-D.
Middle school and upper school activities programs will also be offered and will include access to the libraries, the pools and prepared lunch. The middle school activities program will feature planned group events like piñata-making, checkers tournaments and an Iron Chef competition.
The wide range of choices and flexible program allow each student to design a schedule around his or her own academic needs and personal interests, giving everyone just the right mix of summer activity and fun. Participants taking a morning sports camp have the option to enroll separately in the afternoon activity program as well.
English Language Institute
Each year, more than 100 international students, from elementary school students to high school teens, participate in Harker’s renowned English Language Institute (ELI). They come with the goal of improving their English speaking and writing skills but leave with a breathtaking exposure to cultural adventures as well.
It may be an old cliché, but when it comes to educating these foreign students, the world really is their classroom. At ELI, weekly field trips provide international students exposure to local points of interest, typical of American summer adventures. The trips are then incorporated into the curriculum and students further use their travel experiences to create written and oral projects for presentation.
Dive into Fun at Aquatic Discovery Camps
Separate from Harker’s regular swim school, aquatics discovery is an exciting new program for boys and girls who love the water and want to explore a variety of aquatic activities – with an emphasis on fun!
Coach Ron Usher will help campers improve their water skills and fitness, developing basic safety precautions. They will be introduced to a wide array of aquatic activities, including competitive swimming, splashball, lifesaving, snorkeling and daily aquatic games and activities.
Shoot for the Hoop at Basketball Camp
Harker’s summer basketball program is an ideal opportunity for boys in grades 5-8 and girls in grades 5-9 to develop their skills on the court in a fun, nurturing atmosphere. Students will work on fundamental defense and offense, shooting, rebounding, ball handling and more from Harker’s experienced coaches. Team strategy, fitness and endurance will also be incorporated for a well-rounded program that emphasizes teamwork and individual growth as well as basketball skills.
Boys coach Butch Keller, who serves as Harker’s upper school head, has been coaching basketball for 25 years, winning 19 conference or league championships in addition to numerous awards and achieving an overall record of 511-137. Most recently, he led the boys to a historic break into the upper brackets of CCS playoffs. Coaching the girls will be Alfredo Alves, who last year led the Harker girls varsity team to 20 wins and the first playoff win in Harker girls basketball history.
Get in the Game at Football Camp
Harker’s Junior Eagle coed football summer camp is a great way for students in grades 4-8 to improve as players and team members. Campers will be placed in groups based on age and skill level, and the camp will comprise two sessions per day. The first session will help students improve their skills by participating in speed and agility drills as well as offensive and defensive drills. Students will have the choice of focusing on one team position or learning a variety of them. In the second session, teams of students will play a minimum of five games each day, and a championship team will be declared by the end of the week. Students must have enrolled in the first session to be eligible for the second session.
Ron Forbes, Harker’s sports performance coordinator, will serve as head coach during the program. In a career spanning 15 years, which has included stints at Stanford University and the University of Florida, Forbes has coached Olympians, professional athletes and national champions in a wide variety of sports.
Fun and Learning at Water Polo Camp
Harker’s beginners’ water polo program has all the fun of pool play while campers learn this great sport! Open to those in grades 4-8 looking to learn more about the sport, the coed program will teach crucial skills necessary to compete, such as water and dry land conditioning, treading water, passing and shooting. To be eligible for the program, students must be able to swim 25 yards.
Ted Ujifusa, who directs the program, has been coaching water polo for nearly 40 years, and is the only coach in CCS history to lead two different public high schools to championships. He will be working with Allie Lamb, a 15-year water polo veteran, and swim coach Ron Usher, who has worked with every level from beginners to national champions.
Kickin’ It at Soccer Camp
Harker’s coed Elite Soccer Camp summer program offers students in grades 5-12 a variety of opportunities to improve their skills in a professional environment with individual instruction tailored to each student’s needs. The program will feature a challenging curriculum with daily activities such as Futsal, psycho- motor training, large-goal games and full- and half-court games. Students will also receive visits and listen to talks by professional and college-level players.
The program will be held at Harker’s upper school campus on Davis Field and led by Harker varsity soccer coach Shaun Tsakiris, a veteran of four NCAA tournaments, member of the 1997 U.S. National Team and winner of UCLA’s MVP Award in 2000. He later joined the United Soccer Leagues’ Professional Division and played for the Rochester Rhinos from 2002-06.
Sports Performance Camp Sharpens Skills
The Sports Conditioning program, which used to be called the Eagle Iron, invites students in grades 6-12 to learn how to improve upon all of the fundamental components of sports performance from Forbes, one of the nation’s most successful sports performance specialists. Athletes will be grouped by age, size and skill level.
“Conditioning helps players perform more effectively and avoid injury. Learning to prepare and care for one’s body is a very important part of becoming a successful athlete,” said program director Espinosa, adding that the key to achieving one’s true potential as an athlete, regardless of the sport or skill level, is becoming educated in the fundamental components of sports performance.
Learn from the Pros at Tennis Camp
Harker’s summer Tennis Camp is a great opportunity for tennis enthusiasts in grades 2-8 in fall 2012 to improve their knowledge and skills. For competitive tennis players in grades 2-12, the Harker Oakwood Tennis Training System (HOTTS) will have team practices and interclub matches, in addition to instruction on advanced techniques, strategy, footwork and sports psychology. Both programs will incorporate physical training, on-court instruction, technique and practice with both instructors and ball machines.
The program will again be directed by Harker tennis coach Craig Pasqua, certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association. He also directs Standing Tall Tennis, a nonprofit organization that specializes in aiding at-risk youths on Indian reservations through tennis instruction.
Harker has been offering outstanding summer programs for more than 50 years. For more information about Harker’s summer programs, visit summer.harker.org.