There is organized chaos inside the William Chrisman High School gymnasium on this weekday morning as coach Mary Lile’s first Chrisman volleyball camp for elementary and middle school students is in full swing.
Area coaches, member’s of Lile’s staff and players on the Chrisman team man various stations and lead their young campers through a variety of skill stations.
“This is my second year at Chrisman and the first time we’ve done the camp here, although I’ve run camps at the other high schools where I coached,” Lile said over a brief lunch break.
“It’s been interesting and a lot of fun to watch our players work with the younger kids here at the camp. I’m really proud of just how serious they are taking it. And I think that while they are teaching, they are learning, too.
“And that will be beneficial when our season rolls around in the fall.”
Junior Maddison Kommel has formed a special bond with her camping partner, 10-year-old Ana Aupio.
“The coolest thing about working one-on-one with Ana, is seeing how much she has improved since the first day of camp,” Kommel said, as Ana nodded in agreement. “Because I’ve been with her every day of the camp, we’ve really become good friends and I think that helps because I know she trusts me and trusts everything I tell her to do.”
Ana said Kommel has helped her overall game, but has really been supportive in one area.
“I needed help with my serving,” Ana said, “and Maddison has worked hard with me on serving. And I am a better server now than I was when we started. And she’s nice. We’re good friends.”
Chrisman sophomore Courtney Taylor has also formed a special bond with her camper, 8-year-old Thomas Olsen, one of a handful of boys who are attending the camp.
“He’s so shy,” Taylor said, “but Thomas is having as much fun as anyone of the campers we have. They don’t have boys volleyball in Independence, but it’s a sport that a lot of boys like to play and Thomas is really, really good.
“We’re working with the next generation of volleyball players at our camp, and although we are having a lot of fun, we take it seriously, too. We want them to have fun and we want them to learn.”
And when asked about the camp, Thomas said softly, “I’ve had a lot of fun and I have learned a lot and I like to work with Courtney because she is so nice.”