|August 30, 2001
Volume 32 Number 1
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
Summer Youth Camps Flourish Student staff immersed in experience learning
Kids in bright orange camp T-shirts mill around their Chico State student counselors, squealing and giggling while they make plaster of Paris casts of their handprints. Another group is boisterously tie-dying white T-shirtsand themselvespurple and blue.
These are the campers of the 17th annual Adventure Day Camp, one of several youth camps held on campus that are spon-sored by Inter- collegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports and staffed by Chico State students. Its a break from academia and an immersion in experience learning for physical education, child development, and recreation majors.
Curtis Sicheneder, associate director of recreational sports, is the Adventure Day Camp director. For a guy who has helped eight student counselors supervise more than 500 campers, ages 6 to 15, for six blazing hot weeks, its amazing that he is still smiling. A group of young boys with orange and lime green hair approaches. Its Crazy Hair Day, he explains.
Students hired as camp leaders are primarily from physical education, child development, and recreation administration, many of whom want to be physical education teachers. Students from those departments bring specialized knowledge to the camp, Sicheneder says. They know how to tweak sports activities to make them fair and enjoyable for all campers, regardless of physical ability, plus they have to select activities that include all children simultaneously, transition campers from one event to another.
Students hired as camp leaders must participate in a two-day staff training session. They are introduced to their responsibilities, and they brainstorm activity ideasbowling, tubing down the campus creek, swimming, biking, making tambourines, and painting flower pots and planting seeds in them.
Erin Smith, camp leader, and a senior in Physical Education who plans to teach, loves the kids enthusiasm, and even though spending nine hours a day with them can be exhausting, shes grateful for the job experience. Students in the credential program benefit from both the intense hands-on experience with the kids and from learning how to plan a weekly schedule and organize activities.
Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports also present basketball camps. Many of the coaches are Chico State students, including Jason Van Eck, sophomore, Psychology, and small forward on the mens Wildcat basketball team. Van Eck coached at all of the boys basketball camps, around about 400 campers. Van Eck says he learned to balance teaching with fun, and a fundamental of working with children: You cant be too hard on them!
The most popular camp is girls basketball, directed by Mary Ann Lazzarini, head coach of the Wildcat womens basketball team, and coordinated by Alexa and Alisha Valavanis, assistant coaches. More than 500 junior high and high school girls from all over Northern California attended this summer. More than half of the coaching staff are Chico State students, most of them athletes.Lisa Kirk
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