We are delighted to share this guest blog form our newest Camp Director – Casey Field who just finished running our first every camp in North Carolina. He did such a tremendous job and we really appreciate his perspective after his first experience with 2-4-1!
As we entered the first-ever week of 2-4-1 Sports Camp at Gaston Day, I had a decent idea of what to expect. Over the years, I worked at or ran various camps. Though none shared an approach or philosophy like 2-4-1, I thought, “Camp is camp. Generally, they end up being pretty much the same. So, how different could this REALLY be? How could a focus on trying new sports, and playing primarily for the sake of fun, be THAT MUCH DIFFERENT than other camps that revolve around skillwork and competitive scenarios?” My answer now, it is quite a bit different.
While our camp week was not completely different from other camps, these three moments stick out as unique to the overall atmosphere and experience.
- Early in the planning process, I learned that it is a tradition for 2-4-1 camps to hold a camp-wide Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament on Wednesday. It is a simple yet great activity because everyone generally knows this game (or can learn quickly), it doesn’t take long, and size/age crossover don’t really matter. Additionally, Rock, Paper, Scissors is a way small disagreements over rules are resolved throughout the week. Rather than wasting time debating what happened in a game, campers play a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to settle the matter and then get right back to playing. Our inaugural tournament came down to one of our youngest campers and one of our student volunteer coaches, and the gym erupted when the camper prevailed. The act of playing this simple game together for about ten minutes ended in a moment of joy for everyone in attendance. That does not happen at most camps.
- As the week progressed, I really enjoyed watching the campers during our segments of free play between activities. It was so cool to see the kids going to grab the supplies and start playing a game they had learned earlier in the week. I was amazed by the number of pickle balls being hit against our gym walls on Thursday and Friday even though most campers had never played the sport at the start of the week. Watching campers pull together random equipment to create games that they could play reminded me of playing with my childhood friends in the neighborhood. Over the years, play has become more and more structured so seeing 2-4-1 campers learning that they like a new sport and being creative in setting up their own games was a breath of fresh air.
- I have never witnessed an atmosphere of support and encouragement between campers like we had at camp last week. Wrapping up the day with the opportunity to give “shout outs” to each other is one great aspect of the 2-4-1 brand. Hearing campers compliment someone else on a job well done or thank them for a random act of kindness is pretty powerful stuff. In competitive moments, I witnessed campers stop play to help each other up and demonstrate patience with someone who was a little behind the learning curve. In the last hour of the week, it was touching to see our youngest campers loudly cheering each other on as they ran their lap in the 2-4-1 Olympics. That is certainly not the norm in the sports-world these days and so it is far less common at sports camps than it should be. It was awesome to be a part of this environment where genuinely and authentically supporting other people is part of the fun.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a camp I’d like to attend. I am certainly proud for Gaston Day to be associated with 2-4-1 Sports and its mission. Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport!
About Casey Field
Casey Field is the long-time Athletic Director at Gaston Day School (GDS). Coach Field is proud of the highly respected Athletic Department he has built at GDS where roughly 70% of students in 6th-12th grades participate in one or more sports. Gaston Day has been home to state champions, athletic award recipients, and individuals receiving college athletic scholarships. GDS is also home to students-athletes who give their best to their team on a daily basis without much public recognition. A graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, Coach Field recently announced that the GDS Athletic Department was just recognized by the Aspen Institute's Project Play as one of four model programs in the United States. 2-4-1 Sports is delighted to be collaborating with a visionary like Coach Field and having our campers be exposed to his leadership and the wonderful coaches and Student-Athletes at GDS.