Nike Ultimate Camps, a division of U.S. Sports Camps and the nation’s largest sports camp operator, has added a new Youth Ultimate Camp at Texas State in summer 2014.
The Nike Ultimate Camp is an Ultimate Frisbee camp designed for high school players, according to its website. U.S. Sports Camps is running the program in collaboration with Nike and will work as a sponsor, publicizing and providing gear, said Colleen Conrad, the incoming camp director.
This is the second year the ultimate Frisbee camp will be in session and the first year it is being held outside Austin city limits, said Siera Levenson, Nike/U.S. Sports Camps representative.
The camp is open to boys and girls, ages 13-18, of all abilities and experience levels. The activities include daily instruction, 5-6 hours of Ultimate each day and spending a week on a college campus, Conrad said. Participants will stay in university residence halls.
Ultimate Frisbee is an “up and coming” sport that U.S. Sports Camps is trying to spread across Texas, Levenson said. By bringing an overnight camp outside of the “big cities,” it creates an opportunity for kids from all over Texas to participate without the long commute.
“We’re always trying to grow our network,” Levenson said. “Last year, we started with six locations, and we’ve over doubled what we’re going to offer this year for camps.”
Conrad is a “great” director and will bring a good aspect to the camp, Levenson said.
“This director for this camp has a really good reputation,” Levenson said. “She’s got a lot of kids that want to come because she’s a really great instructor and coach and connected with the community there.”
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Conrad became a coach after growing up teaching camps in Massachusetts. She has worked at a number of camps since then and is now a youth coach in Austin, Conrad said.
“I’m really hoping to create more opportunities for kids to play (Ultimate Frisbee),” Conrad said. “I want it to be a lot of fun for the kids.”
The camp being held at the university will play a key role in spreading Ultimate across Texas outside of the big cities, Conrad said. Although Texas State students cannot be hired right now, they will be brought in to speak to the kids and be “like a celebrity” to them, Conrad said. Eventually students will have the opportunity for employment as counselors in future camps.
“The biggest factor for success would to be creating a quality experience for the kids where they really feel like they had coaches that really invested in their Ultimate future and them as people,” Conrad said.
Alumnus Scott Etzel has worked at the UT Ultimate camp and will be a counselor at the program held at Texas State. Etzel is “excited” to come back to his roots.
“There’s a UT day camp, but the thing I’m looking forward to is being back in San Marcos,” Etzel said. “I played Ultimate Frisbee at Texas State for five years, and I’m looking forward to coaching this camp back at my alma mater.”
Conrad is “really grateful” that Texas State is letting them use its facilities and hopes this camp is a success so Ultimate will be able to grow.