The first lacrosse camp for youth of all ages was a huge success in Rankin Inlet Sept. 25-27, said the local recreation co-ordinator and camp program developer.
David Clark said the camp attracted large numbers of youth in the three youngest age brackets.
He said he was a little disappointed in the relatively low number of youth who participated in the midget-aged category, but that was his only concern from the camp.
“I don’t know if, maybe, they think they’re simply too old to pick up a new sport or what kept them away, but I was hoping we were going to get more kids out in that age group,” said Clark.
“But, all together, we had about 120 kids out for the camp, so we’re quite happy with that.
“The real excitement was also in the younger age groups. That may be because they’re younger and simply more eager to learn new things, but we had amazing turnouts with the younger groups.
“The kids had a blast, were really energetic and picked up the sport really quickly, so it was quite exciting to see that, for sure.”
Clark said although it’s only been one camp, he definitely sees promise for the sport to grow in Rankin.
He said his only concern moving forward is finding the right people to make it work.
“The kids will just eat it up. You show Rankin kids a new sport and they’ll be into it and wanting to learn how to win at it very quickly. It’s great here that way.
“But, if you don’t have the proper coaches and programming, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. That’s something the recreation department and some volunteers will have to figure out so we can have some balance there.
“The excitement we saw in the kids was a little bit about the newness of the sport here and a little bit about the new challenges the game presents and the way it’s played.
“A lot of the younger kids, and some of the older ones, were asking the right questions and picking the sport up quite quickly.”
Clark said it was obvious the majority of the youth who came out to the camp enjoyed the physical side of the sport.
He said when it comes right down to it, lacrosse is an exhausting sport to play.
“In hockey you can glide around a bit when you’re not skating hard, and there’s quite a bit of walking in soccer because the space involved in the game allows it.
“But lacrosse is a fast game and you have to be continually moving fast to keep up with the play, so it’s one of those sports where you have to be really physically fit to compete.”
Clark said a lot of the kids who attended the camp were eager to get out and try again.
However, he said, the camp was a one-off this year just to gauge interest in the sport.
“We had planned to host this camp in the spring, and then we moved it back to the summer and then the fall because we were going to bring a guy up to help facilitate the camp but, obviously, the Covid restrictions changed everything and that didn’t happen
“I really wanted to have it because all the gear we needed was here, but we had to figure it out on our own. I took advantage of the time I had in isolation to research the game and come up with a solid plan for the camp. Overall, I think we did a pretty good job.”
Clark said the turf was removed this week and the recreation crew will be starting up the ice plant this coming Monday.
He said that will start the process of cooling down the floor so the crew can start the ice the following day.
“The ice will be in until mid-April of 2021, or so, then we need some time to take the ice out and conduct some maintenance.
“We’re planning on holding some big events in there during the spring festival and, possibly, the Laura Gauthier Memorial volleyball tournament, as well.
“We’ll put the turf back in June of 2021 to start up our summer programming and one of the big things we may do is add lacrosse to what we offer at the new arena during the summer.”