ROCKINGHAM — Another summer of local youth sports development is quickly approaching.
The Richmond Senior High School soccer and volleyball programs will be holding their annual summer camps in June, and registration is currently open to area youngsters.
Head soccer coach Chris Larsen and head volleyball coach Ashleigh Larsen, who are both wrapping up their fourth years at the helm of their respective programs, expect the camps to help grow interest and quality of play in Richmond County.
Each event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Raider and Lady Raider programs.
Volleyball camp set for mid June
Since she took over the program in 2018, this summer will be Ashleigh Larsen’s third annual volleyball camp. Returning last summer after a year away because of the pandemic, 55 girls attended in 2021.
“I’m hoping more girls are able to come out, “ Ashleigh Larsen said, “Last year with COVID, we had some people hesitant to attend since we are an indoor sport. I hope that we can get things moving back to some type of normalcy and have more girls excited to come to camp.”
Open to any girl entering the third through ninth grades, this year’s camp will be held from June 13-15. Held in Richmond’s gymnasium, the three-day camp will run from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Included in the cost of $55 for campers who sign up before the first day will be a camp t-shirt. Late sign ups will cost $65.
Registration forms have been given to all local elementary and middle schools, as well as the high school. Checks can be made payable to Richmond Senior and be mailed or dropped off at Richmond.
Larsen recently officiated parks and rec volleyball and said she believes the community is starting to enjoy the sport of volleyball more. For her, it’s all about building up the passion and excitement for the game.
“I really enjoy getting the younger generations excited about this sport. Volleyball has a special place in my heart and has brought a lot of joy,” Larsen explained. “Some of my favorite memories revolve around this sport and I love to share my passion with others.
“My other favorite part of camp is seeing the current Lady Raiders work with the future Lady Raiders,” she added. “The little girls look up to our players and I am excited to see them be such great role models for our youth. We have a fine group of athletes involved with our program because they care.”
In holding the camp the last several summers, Larsen believes it has helped the high school program in the long run.
“We have girls show up that have never played before and we end up seeing them play for their middle school programs down the road,” she said, “The most exciting part is seeing the girls attend our games in the fall. They come in their camp shirts and are so excited to watch their ‘coaches’ play.”
Campers can expect to work on basic fundamentals while having fun. Larsen, along with assistant coach Melissa Dennis will run the camp, while returning varsity and junior varsity players will also help out.
Larsen said there’s a possibility that alumni players of the program may stop in to help coach and that she’s “excited to see all the girls back in the gym this summer.”
Soccer program readies for 22nd annual camp
Coming off a record turnout from last summer that saw 160 local athletes participate, Richmond’s annual soccer camp is hoping to see that number rise next month.
“This year I hope to continue to have a large turnout with hope that the interest in soccer throughout the community will continue to build,” Chris Larsen said.
“I would like to see a core group at each age group continue to build interest and skills in hopes that we will be able to form a group that will commit to playing some type of travel soccer. This is the only way that we will be able to continue to compete with other teams across the state.”
The co-ed camp will be open to boys and girls ages 6-15 (kindergarteners through rising 10th graders). A four-day camp, this year’s event will be held from June 27-30 at the high school.
Larsen said campers will need to come prepared with their own shin guards and cleats, and the cost for a single camper is $65. Families with two campers will pay $120, and the cost will also include a camp t-shirt.
Late registration will be $70. To sign up, click here to complete the online registration form. Campers can also pay at the high school or on the first day of camp.
Participants can expect to work on different fundamentals of the game, Larsen said, and each day will be focused on a certain stage of the game. That will culminate in working toward applying those in-game situations.
“The best part about camp for me is the ability to go from each group, youngest to oldest, and see the enjoyment the kids are having playing soccer,” Larsen explained. “At each level they are getting great and proper instruction on the basic fundamentals of soccer.
“By the end of the week, you can see the new skills and the understanding kids are beginning to build. It is also fun to see kids that have attended camp for a few years and see how they have developed as soccer players.”
Joining Larsen as camp instructors will be assistant coaches Bennie Howard and Michelle Denson, along with current high school players.
“We hope to have another great turnout from camp and are looking forward to seeing everyone for another exciting week of soccer at Richmond Senior,” Larsen closed.