Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/18/09
The 2009 L.E.A.P.S. calendar year culminated with a summer lacrosse camp series designed to introduce the game of lacrosse to city youths.
The brainchild of L.E.A.P.S. Co-Founders Eric Gregg and John Christmas, the camps were designed to to raise awareness of the sport while building interest in advance for the upcoming 2010 spring season.
The camps were free for any boy or girl aged 6 through 14 and consisted of basic lacrosse instruction, a healthy snack provided to all participants, and lots and lots of fun. The camps ran through the month of July at four different city sites: Germantown, South Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia, and North Philadelphia. Several local coaches and players came out to volunteer their time as coaches and mentors to local youth.
Young lacrosse players came from all over Philadelphia to learn the sport from an excellent group of coaches, which included Tony Resch of La Salle College High School, Richard Carrington of Chestnut Hill College, Richard Owens of Chestnut Hill Academy, George Dick of Harriton High School, Jen Duckenfield of Strath Haven High School, Keith Brandon of Penn State Abington, and Jim DeRose of Cardinal O’Hara High School. Several current high school and college players, led by the L.E.A.P.S. Founders, worked alongside these fine coaches.
Coaches Gregg and Christmas facilitated the boys’ camp, while coach Dick oversaw the girls. Highlights from the sessions included daily character building exercises where coaches and campers would describe the impacts their role models have on them.
There were also visits from the Philadelphia Wings and MadDog, water balloon tosses and water ice on those really hot days, and many games of ‘Steal the Bacon’, ‘Messy Yard’, ‘Lacrosse Olympics’, and ‘Lacrosse Dodge Ball’. Some might even say that the volunteers had more fun than the youth participating, especially during Lacrosse Dodge Ball!
Attendance was superb as more than 110 youths learned lacrosse for the first time ever. In fact, 51 boys and girls, including youngsters from Project H.O.M.E. and the Neighborhood Youth Achievement Program, attended the final camp in North Philadelphia.
Upon the conclusion of the final camp, local lacrosse leaders Tom Slate (Downingtown East coach, former San Francisco Dragons coach), Brian Dougherty (pro goalie), Kyle Sweeney (pro defenseman) and John Christmas (pro player) awarded scholarships to attend the Pinnacle Lacrosse Camp to two players who demonstrated much skill and leadership.
L.E.A.P.S. is proud to partner with local organizations like these and would like to extend its gratitude to the School District of Philadelphia for making its four Super Site Stadium Turf fields available, and Pinnacle Lacrosse Camp.
Finally, L.E.A.P.S. is extremely grateful to all the supporters who made these camps possible, including Chris Bernicker of Springfield Hyundai for donating trucks and vans to transport youth and equipment; John Barrett, of Gloucester Township Youth Lacrosse, who captured many camp moments on film; and Tom Richter, who provided tents for shade and water ice.
Lastly, L.E.A.P.S. cannot forget to thank all the parents who came out and provided extra water on the really hot days, especially Mike Malseed and the Marino Family.
Visit www.leapslax.org for photos and a short summer camp video documentary.