Continued growth: local soccer, volleyball camps planned for June

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Kyle Pillar — Sportswriter.

ROCKINGHAM — Another summer of sports development for local youngsters is just around the corner.

Richmond Senior High School’s soccer and volleyball programs will be holding their annual summer camps in June, and registration is currently open to area youth.

Head soccer coach Chris Larsen and head volleyball coach Ashleigh Larsen, who are both finishing their fourth year at the helm of their respective programs, expect the camps to help increase interest and quality of play in Richmond County.

Each event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Raider and Lady Raider programs.

Volleyball camp scheduled for mid-June

Since taking over the program in 2018, this summer will be Ashleigh Larsen’s third annual volleyball camp. Returning last summer after a year of absence due to the pandemic, 55 girls participated in 2021.

“Hopefully more girls can come out,” said Ashleigh Larsen, “Last year with COVID some people were hesitant to attend because we’re an indoor sport. Hopefully we can bring things back to some kind of normalcy and that more girls will be excited to come to camp.

Open to all girls entering grades three through nine, this year’s camp will be held June 13-15. Held at the Richmond Gymnasium, the three-day camp will run from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The $55 cost for campers who register before day one will include a camp t-shirt. Late registrations will cost $65.

Registration forms were given to all local elementary and middle schools, as well as the high school. Checks can be made payable to Richmond Senior and mailed or deposited in Richmond.

Larsen recently umpired parks and recreational volleyball and said she thinks the community is starting to appreciate the sport of volleyball more. For her, it’s about developing passion and excitement for the game.

“I really like to get younger generations interested in this sport. Volleyball has a special place in my heart and has brought a lot of joy,” Larsen explained. “Some of my favorite memories revolve around this sport and I love sharing my passion with others.

“My other favorite part of camp is seeing current Lady Raiders work with future Lady Raiders,” she added. “The little girls look up to our players and I’m delighted to see them being such good role models for our youngsters. We have a good group of athletes involved in our program because they care.

Running the camp over the past few summers, Larsen believes it has helped the high school program in the long run.

“We have girls who have never played before and we end up seeing them play for their college programs on the road,” she said. “The most exciting part is seeing the girls attend our games in the fall. They come in their camp jerseys and are so excited to see their ‘coaches’ play.

Campers can expect to work on basic fundamentals while having fun. Larsen, along with assistant coach Melissa Dennis, will lead the camp, while returning varsity and junior players will also help.

Larsen said it was possible former players on the program would stop by to help out the coach and that she was “excited to see all the girls back in the gym this summer.”

The soccer program prepares for the 22nd annual camp

After recording a record attendance last summer with 160 local athletes participating, Richmond’s annual soccer camp hopes to see that number increase next month.

“This year I hope to continue to have strong attendance with the hope that interest in football in the community will continue to grow,” said Chris Larsen.

“I would like to see a core group in each age group continue to develop interest and skills in the hope that we will be able to form a group that is committed to playing a type of travel football. It’s the only way we can continue to compete with other teams across the state.

The mixed camp will be open to boys and girls ages 6-15 (K-10). A four-day camp, this year’s event will take place June 27-30 at the high school.

Larsen said campers will need to come prepared with their own shin guards and cleats, and the cost for a single camper is $65. Families with two campers will pay $120 and the cost will also include a camp t-shirt.

Late registration will cost $70. To register, click here to complete the online registration form. Campers can also pay at high school or on the first day of camp.

Participants can expect to work on different fundamentals of the game, Larsen said, and each day will focus on a certain stage of the game. This will culminate in working on applying those situations in the game.

“The best part of camp for me is the ability to move from each group, from youngest to oldest, and see the fun the kids have playing football,” Larsen explained. “At each level, they receive excellent and appropriate training in the basic principles of football.

“At the end of the week you can see the new skills and understanding the kids are starting to learn. It’s also fun to see kids who have been at camp for a few years and see how they’ve developed as soccer players.

Assistant coaches Bennie Howard and Michelle Denson, along with current high school players, will join Larsen as camp instructors.

“We hope to have another great camp turnout and look forward to seeing everyone for another exciting week of soccer at Richmond Senior,” concluded Larsen.

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