NK camp a challenge, but not a chore

POULSBO — It may include Nerf baseball and frisbee football, but Five Star Sports Academy’s challenge camp is more than fun and games.

POULSBO — It may include Nerf baseball and frisbee football, but Five Star Sports Academy’s challenge camp is more than fun and games.

The camp — now running at Poulsbo Junior High and soon to be opening in Kingston — offers kids the chance to participate in activities that build their leadership and communication skills.

“We like games that give them life skills,” said Five Star director Mike Crowley, who helps to oversee the camp along with several other staff members.

The camp mirrors the television show “Survivor” by diving kids into “camps” that play games and participate in activities together. Members of the camps must work together from the very beginning by naming their team.

It’s not an easy task, since Crowley and the staff members set restrictions. For example, this week’s camp members were required to come up with a name that was 21 letters and two words long. (One group came up with the ‘Rockclimbing Cavaliers.’) The theme of teamwork continues as the kids play games that are developed to help hone their logic skills, communication and leadership.

Crowley said he believes that the games work; at one recent camp, he pointed to a young girl who was beckoning teammates closer for a strategy session by waggling her fingers.

“She won’t do that in PE,” Crowley said, “but she’ll do it here… It gives them an opportunity to be a leader.”

Kids don’t necessarily want to be leaders as much as they want to have fun.

If that’s the mission, so far it’s been accomplished.

Seven-year-old Madeline Glad took a break during a recent game to boast about a recent showing. Despite being on a team with older kids, Glad had made several points during a frisbee game.

“If I wasn’t in there, they wouldn’t have got the big points I had,” she said.

Teammate Shannon McCalib — a seasoned veteran of the challenge camp at 11 years old — agreed, albeit grudgingly.

“Sometimes,” she said, “having the little kids is fun.”

Both girls agreed that they were enjoying the camp so far.

“I like the games we play. It’s always something to do with running and basketball. I like basketball,” said Glad.

McCalib liked working with her teammates.

“It’s a lot of teamwork and effort,” she said.

The camp runs Monday-Friday throughout the summer. It has between 12-16 kids, along with several staff members. Before- and after-camp care is also offered from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for additional cost. The camp itself costs $99 per week.

The group does more than play games. Every Monday includes a trip to Dancing Brush and lunch at Dairy Queen, and the campers also go swimming at the North Kitsap Community Pool. (The camp in Kingston will offer similar community opportunities, but kids will swim less often.)

Crowley said he hopes the kids enjoy themselves — but wants them to come away with more. Everyone needs communication and leadership skills, he said. Why not learn them at a young age?

“Elementary kids face concepts we do every day,” he said.