The West Branch Soccer Club hosts an annual camp | News, Sports, Jobs


LOCK HAVEN — The West Branch Soccer Club is hosting its 41st annual summer camp on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River this week. This year, 157 children aged 5 to 13 and K to 8 grades are participating in the camp. All proceeds from the camp benefit the football club to support youth football throughout Clinton County.

The longest running soccer camp in Clinton County, the camp is all about kids having fun and learning how to play soccer with the right basics. Children have the opportunity to learn about the intricacies and intricacies of the game from camp staff, such as coaches and current players from Lock Haven University.

The camp’s director, Abe Stauffer, is a former high school coach for the football programs at Lock Haven High School and Central Mountain High School. Since Stauffer began leading the camp in February 1984, his goal this year has been the same as always, which is to serve the football club and see the growth of the children involved.

“I love the game and it’s for a good cause” said Staufer. “All the money we make goes back to West Branch Soccer Club and I’m happy to help with that. It’s also good to see the little kids coming out and playing and the fact that it’s a good way to develop kids and make them better players.”

Some of the ways Stauffer and his staff get the kids having fun is by being interactive with them and engaging them in fun activities throughout camp, such as: Despite the fun, kids still find ways to learn new skills and exercises to practice.

To further promote the development of the children in the camp, Stauffer invited trainer Barry Gorman to demonstrate exercises to the children. Gorman, a former Penn State soccer coach and current member of the United Soccer Coaches Association, used some of the younger camp staff to demonstrate exercises for the younger kids.

“It’s about giving back” said Gorman. “When you work with kids, you really count on them not only enjoying the game and playing it for as long as possible, but we hope to educate fans with a future and maybe a diamond in the rough will come out.”

Gorman then added: “Hopefully the knowledge of players, fans and opponents will increase when they have children and that comes from camps like this.”

Since most campers are in middle school this year, most kids will be trying out for their junior high school team at Central Mountain. Because the focus of the camp is on children’s improvement and growth, Stauffer and his staff look forward to seeing the children come back and have fun year after year. He understands that if they have fun they will improve and that motivates him to put on a great camp every year.

“The bottom line is that it should be fun” Stauffer added. “Football is a fun game; They want it to be fun, so we do things like Crazy Wednesday. We just want to breathe some life into them.”

Getting the kids to have fun is part of a great camp. But also helping the kids learn the basics and proper technique to give the kids a solid foundation for the sport is another thing the camp staff look forward to. While it can be difficult to keep children focused due to their short attention spans, staff overcome these challenges. The staff have a lot of success keeping the kids busy through activities.

“Football, the greatest game in the world, is so great because it’s so fluid and so intense.” said Gorman. “The game is about constantly moving.”

“It’s tough, but when you work with kids, you have to get them moving.” said Gorman. “If you have exercises that get you moving and are fun, you’re better. But the key is to get them moving, getting them to do something – hopefully exercises they’re comfortable with – then they’re much more willing to go straight into it.”



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