More Than Winning: Cougar Athletic Camps

by Nicole Chin ’08

“One of the coolest parts about (Camp of Champs) is the last day they give each of the kids something with our logo on it, and it has a place to autograph and we all line up and they walk by and we autograph it for them,” says Cougars tight end Ricky Burgan ’05.

Now in its fourth year, Camp of Champs continues to utilize APU football players, including Burgan, to coach local youth to be better players and people. One of several APU athletics summer camps, Camp of Champs is known around the San Gabriel Valley not only for skills development, but also for strong emphasis on character growth. The camp began June 27, and ran through June 30. Each day began with different stations as APU players taught skills to youngsters, and concluded with players teaching a variety of short lessons on traits like respect or loyalty.

In hopes of encouraging more student-community interaction, these camps provide players like Burgan a chance to invest in the local community and affect the lives of local youth through their own experiences. “It’s a great way to get people on campus that wouldn’t normally come,” said Gary Pine, assistant athletic director.

Men’s and women’s basketball and the softball team joined the football and soccer programs (now in their third year) to put on youth camps. Soccer camps for both boys and girls took place on the Cougar Soccer field from June 20-23 (ages 5-12) and 27-30 (ages 5-12). Basketball hosted the NBC Complete Skills and Point Guard and Post Play camps for boys and girls ran from June 19-23 (ages 9-18) and 26-30 (ages 12-18) in the Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center. Softball coach Sharon Lehman, the winningest coach in the history of the Golden State Athletic Conference, led a skills camp with the APU softball team from June 21-23 (ages 8-16) at the Cougar Softball field.