Story by Christian Knoll
Summer is a great time of year for kids to get outside and be active. The Youth Sport Camps at Colorado State University provide a fun environment for them to do just that.
According to Assistant Professor and YSC Director Brian Butki, the camps were designed more than 45 years ago as a community outreach program of CSU’s Department of Health and Exercise Science.
“It helps our students get hands-on experience, while providing innovative programming focused on obesity prevention and lifelong fitness,” Butki said. “The camps also help to fulfill CSU’s land-grant outreach mission.”
However, the main focus of the camps are the kids. Butki says the camps serve approximately 3,000 families in one summer during the 12 week-long sessions, which translates to around 6,000 campers going through the program, leading to one busy summer for Butki and his team.
The camp counselors are primarily health and exercise science students at CSU. Their goal is to teach technique, rules of the game and sportsmanship while developing skills and providing tips for healthy living. The counselors also deliver generous doses of encouragement for each child.
“Our primary goal is to show kids that movement is awesome,” Butki said. “Our counselors, faculty, coordinators and life guards are all there to get the kids to appreciate physical activity.”
The camps take place on the CSU campus, namely Moby Arena, the Glenn Morris Field House and the Jack Christiansen Track. Several camps also extend to other locations beyond the University, such as the Outdoor Adventure Camp, in which the kids bike to off-campus locations for activities such as hiking and swimming, and the Golf Camp, which is offered at the Fort Collins Country Club.
“At the end of the day, our goal is for the kids to want to be active,” Butki said. “If we can ignite that spark, then we’ve had a good day.”
The Department of Health and Exercise Science is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.