Posted by Katie Peverada
On Monday, April 14, the Skidmore men's and women's soccer teams will take to Wachenheim Field with kids from the Saratoga Springs community for the seventh annual spring break soccer camp.
Each year the proceeds from the camp go to Soccer Without Borders, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization founded in 2006 that uses the game of soccer to bring education to underprivileged communities around the world.
Andrew Blake '14, who with Jenna Spooner '14 has led the organization of this year's camp, estimated that 60 to 70 kids will attend the week-long event.
Blake said it's a very busy week for the College soccer teams, and efforts to have at least eight players there at all times takes a lot of scheduling around students' classes.
The kids who attend spend four hours each morning of their breaks doing soccer-related activities.
"We try to hone in on their soccer skills," Blake said, "but it's just a lot of fun and it's a good way to spend their April break." Blake added that the kids always seem to have a good time and enjoy the chance to learn skills from collegiate athletes they look up to.
In addition to enjoying the Skidmore facilities and learning new skills, the kids will also learn about the power of soccer in general and how it connects people across communities and across the world.
"I think soccer as an international sport is widely recognized," Blake said. "Being that a lot of areas that are big on soccer are simultaneously impoverished areas, it's very in line to use a soccer camp to help people."
The camp also offers Skidmore College players the chance to use their sport to contribute to the SWB organization. The mission of the organization is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change in communities around the world.
In addition to helping the under-served communities in the United States and abroad, the camp also gives the Skidmore athletes a chance to give back to the Saratoga Springs community.
"It's a little bit hard for Skidmore students in general to integrate into the community," Blake said. "I think it's a good way for us to integrate with the community members in a positive way."
The all-volunteer effort has proved fruitful in years past, with the camp donating around $5,000 each year. And this year, the camp has teamed up with Positive Tracks, a non-profit organization based in New Hampshire that will match the money Skidmore College raises.
Besides the suggested donation fee of $75 to $100 for children enrolling in the camp, kids have the chance to donate their old soccer equipment, such as old cleats or balls, to be sent to children in Uganda.
The week-long camp provides an opportunity for participants from Skidmore and the Saratoga Springs community alike to give back and have fun while doing so.
"[The kids in the community] all have a really good time and really look up to Skidmore athletes," Blake said. "You get a chance to appreciate that when you're working with them."
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to register for the camp.