The Western Valley minor football league will soon give local kids a summer day camp to tackle.
For the past four years, girls and boys ages 8 through 14 from Berwick through Annapolis have been attending the Western Valley Wings football summer day camps and regular fall season.
This year the summer day camps will start for the younger kids at Rotary Park in Middleton on July 30, while the older kids’ camp begins August 6. Gear is provided at the five-day camps, but space is limited.
Head Coach Mike Upward says he tries to keep the cost of the program low, while providing the best instruction. A longtime coach in New Brunswick, Upward and his wife Judy moved here a few years ago and he wanted to give local kids an opportunity to become involved in the sport.
While football is some rough and tumble action, Upward insists his players display good behaviour on and off the field, at home, in public, and, most importantly, in school. Also football is a chance for kids of all sizes and abilities to play a part on the team.
“Some positions require size, but not necessarily speed, while other positions are more suited to the speedy, slender types,” he said. “Females can compete quite well at these levels also.”
The first year they had about 30 kids sign up, last year nearly 100 were enrolled in the summer camps that took place at Middleton’s Rotary Park in early August, according to Upward.
A fall session starts in September and runs until the end of October. Girls and boys can join in one of three levels: Atom (ages eight through 10) Pee Wee (ages 11-12), and Bantam (ages 13 and 14).
“They learn more than just football,” he said. “It’s really life skills they’re learning.”
None of Upward’s players are ever left sitting on the benches. Everyone is treated the same way and all members of the team have a role, according to Judy Upward.
“Everyone can play football,” she said. “Size and shape doesn’t matter. There’s a place on the team for everyone.”
Girls and boys play on the teams and once they join, they often stick with it. The Bantam players at the summer camp are members of last year’s Pee Wee team. The Upwards try to keep the cost of playing affordable for families and supply most of the equipment the players need.
“Our garage is a sports store,” she jokes. “Mike tells them to bring socks, shoes and underwear. Having two out of those three are great and they can decide which two to bring.”
Fees for the summer day camp are $100, while the fall season ranges from $150 to $200. For more information on Western Valley Wings Minor Football, contact Mike Upward at 825-6500; or email email@example.com; or visit www.westernvalleywings.ca.