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Spring break camps offer youth alternative to TV

Life skills important part of tennis, golf classes, instructors say
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn-area youth are enjoying fun and fitness this spring break. The Auburn Area Recreation and Parks District is offering several programs to celebrate the break from school, including its junior tennis camp and junior golf camp. For students in kindergarten through sixth grade, the district is offering its Discovery Day Camp. Tom Isaac, Placer High School’s tennis coach, is leading the junior tennis camp, which began Monday and ends Wednesday. Isaac said the camp is not just about learning tennis skills. “(We teach) life skills,” Isaac said. “That is at the top of the list. We try to do pep talks before we get started.” Isaac said he thinks it’s important to find out why someone is playing tennis and to discover the parts of the sport he or she enjoys. “You try to get them to like it first,” he said. “That is probably the most important thing. Do they love competition? Do they love running? Do they love hitting the ball hard? So we go after that. We try to figure out what that is and then build on that.” The class includes a group of students who range in age from 7 to 26 years old. Assistant Coach Jennifer Isaac said she thinks it’s great that the recreation district is giving students choices for fitness during the break. “I’m a big proponent of fitness, and I think by ARD being able to promote sports camps, it gives kids an avenue of being outside and learning a sport if it’s a new one,” Jennifer Isaac said. Megan Kahn, 21, currently attends Sierra College and said she became more serious about playing tennis about a year-and-a-half ago. “I work with Tom and Jennifer a lot,” Kahn said. “I actually heard about this class a couple days before it started. I love working with (the Isaacs) … and meeting new kids. And it’s something to do to keep active over my spring break.” Placer High senior Brendan Chang, 17, said he joined the school’s tennis team last year and hopes the camp will further his love of the sport. “I just want to improve my tennis skills, and they are really good coaches,” Chang said. “I joined the team here my junior year and I have to say it is one of my best high school experiences.” Del Oro High sophomore Samantha Gandy, 15, said she is planning on joining her school’s team this summer and has already learned some new skills from the camp. “I learned how to do ground strokes and top spins,” Gandy said. The junior golf camp is being held at The Ridge and runs through Thursday. “They learn the basic fundamentals of golf,” said Jason Rogers, assistant golf pro at the course. “So, they learn the basic putting and chipping and then we go to swinging, and then we teach them etiquette.” Rogers said Tuesday the students go through lessons of respect, courtesy and judgment and how these things relate to golf and to their home lives. Elizabeth Cerna, 9, said she knew right away that the golf camp was for her. “I like learning how to play golf, because I only knew how to play miniature (golf),” Cerna said. “I was looking through the ARD magazine and I saw it and I said, ‘Mom, I want to do this.’” Matt Brehmer, 12, said the camp is ideal for Spring Break because it’s fun and it gets you outside. “It teaches me a lot of stuff I didn’t know, and I like how he is teaching us safety and respect for the course,” Brehmer said. Debbie Thomas, youth services manager, said there are still spots in the district’s Discovery Day Camp. “This week we have different spring-related activities all week that involve hands-on arts and crafts, games and there is some free time for kids to kick back and have a good time with their friends,” Thomas said. “We have the arcade, we have games, we have gymnasium time. We do have an Easter egg hunt for Day Campers on Friday.” Sheryl Petersen, recreation services manager for the district, said ARD is offering a number of summer camps including Legos, film, sports and more. Those who sign up before the end of this month get $5 off each camp. Kahn said she thinks the camps offer a great way for kids to enjoy their breaks from school. “I think it’s really important, especially as a way to stay active instead of just staying at home,” she said. “It’s a really good atmosphere for them to just be able to hang out and have a good experience.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------ ARD Discovery Day Camp When: The camp runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays through Monday Cost: $20 for half day, $28 for full day Information: Call (530) 889-5619 Information on ARD camps: Visit auburnrec.com