In the heart of summer, thousands of kids across the city are finding plenty to do to keep busy. As our coverage of Queens Week continues, NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel takes us to a camp that makes sure both learning and good exercise become year-round activities.
From learning how to one day make that perfect serve, to raking up RBI's on the baseball field, it's all about perfecting some skills and staying active for kids enrolled at the Queens College Sports Academy. And the basis of the camp keeps one key component in mind.
"It's important that fitness be fun. If it's not fun, then they're not going to repeat it," says the camp's athletics director Dr. Richard Wettan. "You could have kids do 1,000 push ups or run a million miles and if they hate it, they're not going to do it again. So it's important that they learn to enjoy it."
The camp for 5 to 15-year-olds runs in two to eight week sessions and allows the kids to experience a number of different sports. It's practice many of them say they're not getting as much of a chance to focus on during the school year.
During the school year, on my free time, I just like to hang out at home and go to the movies. But it's better if you go to a sport; you get more energy and stuff like that," says camper Alexander Liatto.
"As you are more active, you get stronger and better, and it just makes sports and playing games a lot easier," says camper Christopher Sands.
This camp isn't just about making sure kids stay active all summer long. After all, it is at a college, so it's also about making sure they're exercising their minds too. Many of the kids are also spending part of their day in educational classes. Something camp organizers say helps to strike a perfect balance.
"It's a good warm-up for the school year. What's the sense in studying hard for 9 months, and then for 3 months after they get out of school to let their brains go dormant. That's not what we should be doing with them," says Dr. Wettan. "During the year, they should be getting more sports and play and physical ed, and not just school work either."
It's a balancing act these kids seem to be going for.
"It keeps you fit and you meet a lot of great people here, and it's really a lot of fun," says camper Candice Sands.
- Kafi Drexel