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Camp Puts Focus on Leadership

May 31, 2011
Central SASI

Camp puts focus on leadership

by Matt SmithThe Laurinburg Exchange

For the past three years that I've been involved in the newspaper industry, one common thread that comes across in every major interview I've done with a coach has focused on player leadership.

Sports are a great avenue for student-athletes to learn team building and cooperation skills, but, every team needs that one standout, go-to leader.

Whether the player takes charge vocally or backs up their position with their play on the field or court, we revolve around those in charge, and without a leader, a team will fall.

Next month, the Student Athletic Summer Institute will host a summer program at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

The summer retreat kicks off on Sunday, June 19, and ends at noon on June 23.

The camp will feature events on the UNCP campus, while also taking the group into Hope Mills and Rockfish. On Wednesday, the team will have a special opportunity to work with the Pembroke Boys and Girls Club.

Last year, the group completed the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Sportsmanship program, discussed athletic hazing and its effects on students and took in team building activities like canoeing and a camp fire.

The week-long program is designed to help develop leadership skills, role modeling and mentoring techniques and help teach valuable sportsmanship lessons.

The program combines high school student-athletes, as well as a coach from their respective school, with other leaders in their field across the region, hopefully for a chance to grow as both athletes and citizens.

Scotland County is currently grouped in the Central SASI region. This region includes Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Robeson and Richmond County. Almost 400 student-athletes were involved in SASI during the 2009-2010 academic year, but, numbers are dwindling.

In the past 20 years, the program has had over 100 students attend the summer program at a time, but last season, only 18 students attended from five schools out of the 37 that encompass the region. Last summer South View, Hoke, Purnell Swett, Douglas Byrd and Pine Forest represented the area, and this year, I hope that Scotland will send a team as well.

Teams can range from two to six players, with a coach chaperone, at $75 a person for the four-day camp.

While the $75 can be steep for athletes and their families, I know with the athletic support in our community, we can find sponsors or host a fundraiser. The chance to see our student-athletes blossom not only as leaders on the field, but in the community, is a chance too good to pass up.

I myself will be at the camp on two different days, and I hope that Scotland will have a team to attend.

An opportunity is knocking Scotland coaches. Answer it not only for yourself, but for your players.

If any coaches or players are interested, please contact Teresa Coleman at tlcoleman@bladen.k12.nc.us.

Coleman is our area representative and can help coordinate putting a team together.

Coach and player applications can be found online at www.nchsaa.org, underneath the Student Services and Programs tab.

If we can get a team together, I know it will benefit our county's players, coaches and their respective families.

Being a leader requires bravery not expected of others and this is the first step in that direction.

I hope to see a few of Scotland County's future leaders out on the UNCP campus this summer, representing not only yourselves, but SHS in the process.

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