Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gryphons prepare to assume new summer roles

They say that those who can’t do, teach. But, during the summer months on the University of Guelph campus, those who ‘teach,’ can also ‘do.’

During the summer, the department of athletics hosts a number of youth sports camps, aimed at developing the skills of elementary and high school-aged students. The Gryphons varsity coaches direct these camps, but the staff is comprised of Gryphons athletes, who bestow their knowledge, skills and experiences upon budding young athletes.

Jasmine Douglas, the star second-year forward from the Gryphon women’s basketball team, is one of those specially selected varsity athletes helping to staff the women’s camp.

“This will be my third summer working at the camps, so I believe that I will be given more responsibility this time around,” said Douglas, who will be joined by teammates Samantha Russell and Kara Muhlhausen on the basketball staff. “I’ll be looking to be more of a vocal leader to not only the campers, but also to other counsellors, as this is a skill I am looking to improve on in general.”

Douglas looks at this upcoming experience not only as a chance to give back to the Guelph community where she grew up, but also as an opportunity to provide young female athletes with quality training.

“I want to teach them that females can play basketball, or any other sport for that matter, and to not be held back because of their gender,” said Douglas. “We teach the kids that with hard work and determination they can play basketball at the university level too.”

Gryphon men’s and women’s basketball head coaches, Chris O’Rourke and Angela Orton, will be leading the basketball camps, and hockey, football, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse and track and field youth camps will also be offered and directed by Shawn Camp, Rachel Flanagan, Bill Brown, Keith Mason, Paul Funk, Sam Kosakowski, Chris Moulton and Dave Scott-Thomas – all of them being Gryphons varsity coaches.

In watching Douglas play university basketball, her enthusiasm and work ethic is virtually unparalleled. No rebound is beyond her reach and very few players attack the basket with her tenacity.

“I think the most valuable thing that I can bring to the camp as an instructor and staff member is my work ethic and overall enthusiasm for basketball,” she said. “Also, [I can] show kids that with hard work and determination, they can improve immensely, as well as having fun along the way.”

Despite never having the opportunity to participate in similar camps when she was younger, Douglas, who instead, honed her skills playing against her male friends on the playground, recognized the importance of teaching fundamentals of the game at a young age.

“It is very important for young women to have such great opportunities to further develop their skills, because with some of the campers being younger, it allows them to be able to start learning the basics earlier on,” she said. “It’s always nice to see a camper that struggles with a skill at the beginning of the week, be able to see them progress with it, and by the end of the week have them excelling at the skill.

“This shows how practice and hard work goes a long way in your development as a player."

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