For the fifth year in a row, Rock Creek Park has been full of young athletes trying their hand at just about every sport imaginable.
The annual All Sports Day Camp kicked off June 4 and offered something for everyone by providing a good foundation of various sports for kids ages 5-13 to enjoy all week long.
P.E. teacher and head football coach at North Forsyth Middle School, Ty Carnes, began the All Sports Day Camp at Rock Creek Park five years ago as a way to get kids out of the house and active during the summer.
“The main reason I started was low-cost just to get the kids out active throughout the summer,” Carnes said. “Get them off the video games, get them off the couch sitting at home and to introduce a variety of sports that some of these kids don’t have an opportunity to play.”
Every day camp participants get to play four to five different sporting games. Monday morning just happened to be kickball, a camp favorite activity.
Carnes, who has coached not only football but his children’s baseball and softball teams, has had his hands in just about every sport and he wanted to give kids the opportunity to learn new sports they may have never played.
“It’s amazing. We’ll get some of these kids that don’t even know how to hold a golf club. They don’t know how to put the correct fingers in a bowling ball. So it's little things like that that they learn as we go throughout the week,” Carnes said.
During the week, players get the chance to try out anything from traditional sports like baseball, softball, football, soccer, basketball and tennis to the more exotic games like kickball, bowling, ultimate Frisbee, putt-putt golf and floor hockey.
“We talk a lot about teamwork, being good sports, playing things the right way, doing things right and it’s just more of a fun laidback week just doing sports all day every day,” Carnes said.
And when the kids finished out the day with good sportsmanship and followed directions, they got the ultimate treat: an exciting game of dodgeball.
Rock Creek Park provides Carnes and his kids access to both gymnasiums, the recreation room and all outdoor facilities so the possibilities for sporting fun are endless. The Kona Ice truck also comes by one day during the camp to provide snow cones, and the kids get to enjoy the Rotary Island splash pad to cool down during the camp.
Every year the All Sports Day Camp has grown, starting with 35 kids the first year to over 60 participants in each camp. Over half of them return to the camp year after year.
“Kids love it and they invite their friends and it just kind of snowballs,” Carnes said.
One of Carnes’ favorite things about the camp is that so many kids have come back every year, and some of the older kids want to come back as counselors to help in any way they can.
The All Sports Day Camp isn’t just for boys. Over the years Carnes has been excited to see more and more girls sign up to play.
“They get out here and love it just as much and sometimes they’re some of our better athletes and competitors, which is great,” Carnes said. “They fit right in. They aren’t treated any differently. They come out and have a blast as well.”
Kids of all athletic abilities come out and enjoy the camp, playing familiar games they love or finding new passions in sports they never thought of playing.
The second All Sports Day Camp is set for June 18-22 and spots are still open for those who want to participate. The camp lasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. all week long and costs $110 per person. Early arrival at 8 a.m. and late pick up at 4 p.m. is available for an additional $25. Campers are asked to bring a snack, sack lunch and water bottle each day.
Those interested can pre-register online at dawsoncounty.org or pick up hard copies of the required forms at Rock Creek Park and Veterans Memorial Park. For more information, email Ty Carnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.