While it is important for your kids to take a break from scheduled classes, the winter recess is a great time to try out camps and activities for a short amount of time. For kids with an athletic inclination, it is an opportunity to get moving and play sports despite the cold weather. There are programs throughout the city that offer the chance for kids to play sports over the break.
We spoke with Jason Vasquez, director of youth programs at the Aviator Sports & Events Center, Craig Woodcock, camp director at Chelsea Piers, and Mike Belmont, programs manager at The Baseball Center, about their winter break programming and the importance of athletics during the winter break.
What is the mission or goal for your winter sports camp programming?
Belmont: The goal for our Diamond Day Camp is the same goal we have for all of our programs here at The Baseball Center: to help our young ballplayers grow into advanced students of the game, but also help them grow as individuals, teammates, and leaders.
Vasquez: The goal of the Aviator Sports Winter Camp program is to ensure a safe and nurturing environment where children are engaged in a variety of activities both physical and mental, in hopes of helping participants learn and gain new skills that can be utilized in life moving forward.
Woodcock: The goal of the winter sports holiday camp at Chelsea Piers is to keep kids active and entertained while school is out. There are many parents that also need to work and this allows their kids to have fun during the day while they are at work.
Why do you believe it’s important to keep kids engaged with something like camp over the winter break?
Belmont: During the winter months when children can’t as easily get outside to play and move, we feel it is important to have a place where kids can stay active and be able to interact with their peers. Diamond Camp at The Baseball Center is a great way for children to get some out some of their energy and to stay healthy and active.
Vazquez: It is important to keep children engaged over the winter break because the mind is always willing to learn. The winter break is fun for students as they have an opportunity to get away from school but it can be harmful if children are not keeping their minds stimulated. Aviator Sports allows students the opportunity to meet new peers, learn new things, and participate in a wide array of awesome activities not offered in many other locations. How cool is it to say that you went rock climbing, ice skating, and did your winter break homework assignments all in the same day? Pretty cool in our opinion!
Woodcock: It’s nice to keep kids in a routine or schedule for some of the days during the break. Sports camp is the perfect blend of fun and a schedule.
How do you think sports camps such as yours help children beyond just teaching sports abilities or skills?
Belmont: Baseball itself is a great tool for teaching children patience, teamwork, and how to take instruction and learn. Our instructors teach these important life skills in a fun upbeat atmosphere while playing the greatest game on earth.
Vasquez: The making of a great sports camp is being able to adapt by offering things normally outside of the specified comfort zone. Aviator Sports Camp has expanded programming to include many additional activities that are more traditional in its offerings, including arts & crafts, dance, drama, music, homework help, and so much more. We are not only a sports camp but an environment which fosters learning on every given day, while providing a safe and comfortable environment for each family that walks through our doors.
Woodcock: Chelsea Piers believes that kids learn many life lessons through sports. Team work, sportsmanship, listening to directions, waiting your turn, discipline, hard work, structure and many other life skills are learned while participating in organized sports. These life lessons will continue to be relevant after high school or collegiate athletics end.