The Brooksville Department of Parks and Recreation has taken a major interest this summer in providing youths with athletic outlets. One of those outlets is the volleyball camp that took place recently at the Jerome Brown Center.
With an emphasis toward reaching out to those who haven't been exposed to the sport, the camp was headed by Springstead High School volleyball coach Darcy Hinton. The purpose of the camp is to relay the fundamentals to up-and-coming athletes and spur an interest in the sport.
"Darcy is so awesome with the kids," Department of Recreation representative Tina Nichols said. "She makes a real connection with as many of them as possible."
Although there are no boys volleyball programs on the high school level in the county, some of the youths Hinton is connecting with this summer include young men. She points out that Hillsborough County is starting boys volleyball on the high school level this season and hopes that trend continues in other counties.
"So many of these boys have the talent," Hinton said. "They just don't have the places to play that the girls do locally."
Also taking advantage of summer tutelage are some skilled high school players who could stand out this fall. Allison Schillinger and Maria Garcia, who should contribute this season to Springstead's program, volunteer their assistance at the camp along with Hinton. In teaching the more inexperienced youths, these players get in more court time before school starts in August.
"When you teach something, you get better at it yourself," Hinton said. "I can get to know these girls I am going to coach in the fall personally now, and see what kind of potential they have."
Hinton's involvement can't be understated either. Nichols sings her praises as the key to the camp's success, but even more impressive may be Hinton's own reasoning for contributing her time. As the new coach of a prep program, being around the sport as much as possible can only make the transition easier, and keeping the interest of volleyball alive in Hernando County has its own rewards for the former Tampa Bay Juniors player.
"The important thing about a camp like this is the effect that it has on the younger players," Hinton said. "Some of the girls are already talking about trying out for their middle school teams, and when they all look back on this, I want them to have a positive connotation when they think of volleyball."
This particular camp is part of a larger concept that the department of recreation has undertaken in the past two years. Led by Mike Walker, parks and recreation director, the staff sat down and established multiple summer athletic camps.
"Our goal at the time was to give these kids something to do in the summer while also having the benefit of the facilities we have like the Jerome Brown Center," Walker said. "The numbers have been down a little bit because of the economy, but that was expected."
With more than 20 kids at the volleyball camp, everyone involved hopes to see these camps flourish.
"We reach a different demographic here," Hinton said. "This is a very reasonably priced camp that will help us build toward something in the future."
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