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Fun, Fitness and Fundamentals at Sports Camps

The fields and gymnasiums in the district are full of activity this summer as hundreds of children are participating in the annual Sports Camp. There are 16 different programs offered this year for boys and girls including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, speed and agility training, track and field, volleyball and wrestling.

The four-week baseball camp at Massapequa High School, for children ages 7-13 averages more than 100 daily participants working with varsity coach Tom Sheedy, assistant coach Chris Cafiero and current and former high school players. Students practice different baseball skills as they rotate through stations, working on their bunting, fielding, hitting, pitching, running and throwing.

Coach Sheedy said that the goal is for children to have fun, get exercise and improve their baseball abilities. The high school players make it exciting for the youngsters with different competitions like a homerun derby and relay races.

“All of the counselors were campers at one point, and they remember how special camp was for them,” he said. “They want give back to the program.”

More than 40 girls, entering grades 4-8, took part in the field hockey camp at Berner Middle School Stadium during the third week of July. Coach Melodee Ahrens, her assistant coaches Nicole Scoca and Nicole Sicitella, and former and current players from the varsity team worked with participants on skills such as dribbling, passing and sweeping.

Whether they play for a school team or a travel team, Coach Ahrens said the goal is to help the girls bring their field hockey play to the next level and to build their confidence.

Football camp was held on the Massapequa High School field from July 15-19 for students entering kindergarten through eighth grade. Children were split into groups based on age, and traveled from station to station where they participated in drills led by high school football players.

Coach Kevin Shippos said he wanted children to learn the game in a safe setting while having fun, too. He added this year’s motto was “One family” to emphasize that even though the camp featured students from elementary to high school with different skill levels, they were all there together as Massapequa Chiefs.

Berner Middle School students Michael D. attended football camp for the third time and said he aspires to play in high school. He liked the format of the program, with scrimmage games at the end of camp to practice all the skills they learned throughout the week.

“It helps me with fundamentals,” he said of the camp, “and helps me get better to know what to do in a game situation.”