UWRF summer sports camps help budget, community connections

Posted April 5, 2017

With summer right around the corner, UW-River Falls coaches are getting ready to host their summer sports camps.

At UWRF, all of the head coaches for each sport are in charge of their camps. They decide how many, and what exactly will be instructed at each camp. A lot of universities the size of UWRF employ the same method of letting their coaches decide.

Falcons Head Football Coach Matt Walker said he would like to do more summer camps but the lack of staff members makes it difficult.

“We would love to do more, but my staff is already under the average Division III staff in terms of numbers and pay,” Walker said.

Walker said that he can pay his staff a little bit with the money the teams make from the camps, but it’s not enough to take up more of their time with a larger number of camps over the summer.

All of the teams get to keep 100 percent of the money they raise through the camps. Women’s Basketball Head Coach Cindy Holbrook uses the money to buy things like new uniforms and shoes for her team. Walker takes a little bit of a different approach.

“It basically helps the back end of our budget,” Walker said. The football team spends its money on recruiting trips and team travel expenses. All of the things that would normally stretch the budget can be supplemented, at least a little bit, by camp fees.

Holbrook finds value in a couple of different areas of her team camps.

“The biggest things for us is, one, is it creates connections with kids. And then also that ends up being one of our biggest fundraisers,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook also finds the camps help connect with the community. She said that one can get caught up in what they are doing on campus that it’s hard to always know what’s going on in the community. The camps provide an outlet to engage with the surrounding area.

The football team doesn’t necessarily have the same approach in terms of community outreach with its camps, but it does other things throughout the year to connect such as its BRIDGE program and Youth Day with Falcons.

Although some people might think the camps are a recruiting tool for college coaches, at UWRF that’s not the case.

“A lot of the girls we recruit play AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) in the summer. We don’t get them at our camps,” Holbrook said.

The NCAA has loosened its regulations the last couple of years when it comes to scouting players while they’re attending camps.

“With the NCAA deregulating the last few years, we will now use our camps as an evaluation tool,” Walker said.

The football team will host two camps over the summer. The first will be an individual and team camp from June 21-23. The second is a 7-on-7 passing camp, and will be completed in one day on July 12.

The women’s basketball team will host four separate camps, all in June. All of the camps are for individual players and will focus on individual drills and instruction.

Men’s basketball, volleyball and softball also host clinics and camps. Details on summer sports camps may be found online at http://bit.ly/2oDCGg0.