Hundreds of youths attend sports camp in Mannheim
August 13, 2010
MANNHEIM, Germany — Some 400 youngsters got to play some familiar, and some not-so-familiar, sports during a one-day camp at Benjamin Franklin Village and Sullivan Barracks.
After a morning of soccer and basketball workshops, the campers, age 5-15, got a taste for something completely different during the afternoon “fitness passport” sessions. “Fitness passport” allowed the campers to try their hands at sports such as lacrosse, archery and American football, which were completely new to many.
“We’ve conducted smaller-scale sports camps in the winter,” said Mannheim youth sports director James McElawin as he laid out field markers prior to the camp’s afternoon session at Sullivan Barracks. “We wanted to keep it going so that the kids could continue their multicultural experiences.”
Although Mannheim Middle School student Randa Watkins, 13, hadn’t heard of lacrosse, the game seemed fun, she said.
Fellow lacrosse novice Courtney Rardi, 15, of Mannheim High School, played soccer in the morning but followed in some family footsteps when she picked up the lacrosse sticks.
“My mom used to play lacrosse in high school,” Rardi said.
Just as the lacrosse sticks were unfamiliar to Watkins and Rardi, 14-year-old Peyman Shahsavarkhani got a chance to try on an American football helmet and some shoulder pads.
“It was fun,” said Shahsavarkhani, a basketball and soccer player, after hauling in his first pass at the end of a drill that included a 40-yard dash, a run through a gantlet of tackling dummies and the football player’s inevitable step-drill through a carpet of old tires.
“I like all American sports,” Shahsavarkhani said. “This camp is fun. We got to do tackling and lots of cool things.”
Camp closed with an all-American barbeque, conducted, as were all the instructional sessions, by community volunteers.
“I’m proud of the way all my Mannheim Mustangs turned out,” said longtime Mannheim community coach Theodis Green. “This is a training holiday. They could have stayed home, but they came out to do it for the kids.”