It was certainly a case of “fun in the sun” during Socal Rugby Camps second ever LA summer youth rugby camp held in Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey last month.
Over 40 campers between the age of 8 and 18 enjoyed 5 days of fun-filled activities, some with and without a rugby ball.
The camp split between two venues, with Clover Park being the setting for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with the week being broken up by a beach day on Wednesday on the picturesque Marina Del Rey peninsula.
Day 1 - Monday July 11
Draped in their Orange Socal Rugby Camps T-shirts, campers were full of beans on the 1st day of camp which was aimed at having everybody getting to know each other, kicking off with a few icebreaker and name learning games.
The campers were split into 3 typical working groups: u10s, u12s – u14s, and u16s – u18s, with all 3 groups put through a mixture of rugby technical skill drills and games throughout the day.
After a delicious lunch which featured grilled salmon, tri tip steak, and salad, the campers sat down in the Mobot amphitheater to watch rugby videos and take part in a Q & A with San Diego Breakers Pro Rugby Player Jabari Zuberi.
Day 2 - Tuesday July 12
Tuesday meant blue Socal Rugby Camps shirt day at Clover Park and more fun and excitement for campers.
The older group (Grizzlies) enjoyed the kicking skills and Aussie Rules games, while the Cubs worked on passing and evasion skills.
After chicken, pesto pasta and Italian salad satisfied the troops, the campers were enthralled with the day’s video feature in the Mobot amphitheater which was centered around the history and meaning of the New Zealand All Black haka.
Campers then formed 5 groups of varying ages and were required to rehearse and perform their own haka to the entire group, with prizes up for grabs for the best performance..
Day 3 - Wednesday July 13
It was a beautiful day in LA and the perfect time to hit the beach. Campers were greeted at the end of the Marina Peninsula and handed their brand new white shirts before setting off for camp HQ by the water’s edge.
With games like rugby baseball, rugby volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee, campers worked up a huge hunger in time for their Mediterranean themed lunch served by Food For Champions Chef Phil Lydeard who had now understandably become the firm favorite of all the coaches.
Most of the day was spent in and out of the water, with some Australian inspired Surf Life Saving races keeping the campers occupied, and overall a fun day had by all.
Day 4 - Thursday July 14
Thursday was Olympics day at Clover Park in Santa Monica.
Campers were asked to wear the costume or uniform of their favorite Olympic sport and their were some outstanding efforts, with the prizes for best two outfits going to Tristan Cutress for his Taikwando dobok and Gavin Conboy for his fencing get up, including mask and foil which were promptly confiscated by father Ray once the full outfit had been displayed to the judges.
The rest of the day would be all about the Olympics, with videos about the Rio 2016 Games and the USA Men and Women Rugby players who will be competing for gold over the next week!
Olympic style events were also conducted throughout the day such as Rugby Ball Discus.
Special guest Justin Boyd - former USA 7s Eagle - was on hand to work with the campers on attacking skills in both 15s and 7s. all.
Day 5 - Friday July 15
Another hot, sunny day smiled upon the camp for its final day, with most campers a little leg weary and tired from a week of non-stop action, but excited to close out the camp with a bang.
The objective for the day was to send campers home to their parents as tired and satisfied as possible, so many a high intensity game was played, including finishing off with the crowd favorite, “capture the flag” where all ages were tossed into the mix for maximum interaction and enjoyment.
At the closing ceremony, the ‘Sleek Sensation Camper of the Week" award was handed out to the campers who epitomized the Socal Rugby Camps ethos, which is not only about rugby ability and performance, but carries other important attributes like, sportsmanship, respect for the coaches and other campers, coachability, and also leadership. We had a sleek sensation award handed out to boys and girls from each of the 3 typical age divisions as follows:
u10 Girl - Ila Bagnara
u10 Boy - Stephan Lyons
u12/u14 Girl - Mia Bagnara
u12/14 Boy - Liam Carthy
u16/u18 Girl - India Horns
u16/u18 Boy - Remy Wood
Thank you to all the parents and participants for choosing to spend 5 fabulous days with us.
A special thank you to the following coaches for your commitment and effort throughout the week:
Eli Mandel, Zach Bonte, Danny Thomas, Shawn Lee, Danny Carpio, Sean (Thor) Pypers, Justin Boyd, Allen Corruth, Badra Wilson.
An extra special thank you to our Food For Champions Master Chef Phil Lydeard for providing amazing food, and the highlight of every camper's day...every single day!
We have laid the foundation for an even better camp next summer, and we hope to see all of our campers from this time at next year's summer camp...unless you're too old of course, in which case we might need your help!