Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sports camp strives to build self-esteem

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 5/30/2014

Steven Lane’s duty is to empower kids to stay in school and he is doing that through sports.

For the second year, Lane, Communities In Schools site coordinator at Ottawa Middle School, is hosting his Summer Fundamentals Sports Camp for youth in the community at OMS, 1230 S. Ash St., Ottawa. The camp, which runs from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. May 27 through June 6, not only features several days of activities for youth to learn the fundamentals of a variety of sports, but this year the camp also has several guest speakers.

Steven Lane’s duty is to empower kids to stay in school and he is doing that through sports.

For the second year, Lane, Communities In Schools site coordinator at Ottawa Middle School, is hosting his Summer Fundamentals Sports Camp for youth in the community at OMS, 1230 S. Ash St., Ottawa. The camp, which runs from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. May 27 through June 6, not only features several days of activities for youth to learn the fundamentals of a variety of sports, but this year the camp also has several guest speakers.

Former 2008 National Football League prospect Maguell Davis and former International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Team USA competitor Bettie Wade will both be at the school Saturday to talk to the camp attendees, Lane said.

“What they will be speaking on is how to have a plan, bullying and being a student athlete,” Lane, a 2013 graduate of Ottawa University and former OU football player, said. “The idea [of the camp] is to teach the kids the basic fundamentals of sports and also about life and nutrition.”

Davis, a graduate of Norfolk State University in Virginia, earned his bachelor’s degree in business in accounting with a concentration in finance and a master’s of accounting, and works as an accountant for the Internal Revenue Service.

Wade is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan and has an impressive track and field resume including being a six-time, All-American at Michigan and a heptathlon competitor for Team USA at the 2009 and 2013 IAAF World Championships. She resides in Manhattan, Kansas, and works with at-risk teens, Lane said.

Apart from the speakers, kids eligible for the camp, which is for kindergarten through eighth graders, also learn fundamentals of sports through drills and activities. Sports being taught at the camp include soccer, basketball, volleyball and football, Lane said. Rebecca McFarland, family and consumer sciences extension agent for Frontier Extension District No. 11, which serves Franklin County, also will speak to kids during the camp about healthy nutrition and relationships.

Last year’s camp had a small fee, and Lane said he had 26 kids signed up. This year, the camp is free and he has more than 50 kids attending. Some of the kids that wanted to do the camp last year couldn’t afford it, so he dropped the fee, Lane said.

The camp also is in the progress of being brought together with the Replay Project started this year by the Franklin County Leadership class, Lane said. The Replay Project, which was proposed by Lane, focuses on raising funds to pay for equipment and enrollment fees so kids can play sports, Lane said. In the past year, the project raised $6,500 for that cause and next year the program will be implementing the fine arts, he said.

“[The kids have a] better opportunity to get a scholarship, better opportunity to be confident and be successful,” Lane said. “Replay is pretty much the idea that if we create something where you can donate money and new sporting equipment we can pay for these kids [who might not be able to afford it otherwise] to be enrolled in sports.

“I had a few friends who encouraged me to go back to college, play ball and really use my talent to be able to get a degree,” he said. “My mentor always told me to have a plan.”

The camp is not solely run by Lane. Volunteers from the community, Ottawa University, Ottawa High School and parents of kids help out with the camp as well, Lane said.

Lane also switches out the sports he teaches fundamentals on each year, he said.

“The more that the kids are exposed to different sports, the better,” he said. “I just want to build relationships and bring the community together with the kids. If they have adults that really care about them, they can make really smart decisions. I love sports and I wanted to work with the youth, so I use sports in order to work with the youth and that is what I want this camp to be based on.”

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