I am fortunate. For the second year I was asked to chaperone a group of high school men attending a soccer camp. This translates into .. I was cooking and cleaning for 24 young men for a week.
The basic routine was prepare breakfast, and after the men left for training, clean the house, prep for lunch, (once the men returned) serve lunch, clean the kitchen and perform a cursory house cleaning (more if needed), head to the field to take photos of both the women’s and men’s teams during their afternoon games, return to the house to prepare supper, serve supper, clean the kitchen, go to bed, start over the following morning.
The young men (and women) who participate in this camp are all eager, talented, and thoughtful. But, the camp is not about me (whew!). It is about improving the soccer skills that will ultimately aid the men and women be better players and teammates. There is the added benefit of trying out players in different positions to see how they respond and what works best for the budding team. And, the best thing is seeing how the groups gel on the field.
Sure, the week is about soccer. But it’s also about getting along, sharing, looking after one another, and – perhaps most importantly – forming a bond between young men (and separately the women) such that they can function better as a team.
The coaches may disagree. Their goals may also include determining who among the players will form – and perhaps lead – their teams.
For me, as a witness to this for the second time, I appreciate everyone, but I have to say the other chaperones who take vacation time to work in support of their own and others children are monsters of caring. They are the last to get to bed and the first to rise. When one needs a break, someone else steps up and covers. When one takes a moment and talks to the kids, someone else just gets done that which needs it.
Sure, there is a lot going on. And, with the years much of the camp, once going, is like a well oiled machine. But, the goals are the same – to give the student players an opportunity to improve. The chaperones get to know each other pretty well too .. which is an added benefit.
So, this is my thanks. Dave and Jerry, you’re awesome.