DOBSON — About 65 kids from a four-county area descended upon Dobson for the Surry Community College Volleyball Camp from June 22-25.
The camp, for girls ages 6-16, featured two sessions: an early morning session for elementary-aged players and an afternoon session for middle school and high school.
In addition to Surry County, some of the campers came from Wilkes, Yadkin and Stokes.
By moving the camp up a couple of weeks from its traditional time, SCC was successful in attracting more youth to this year’s camp.
“We had 64 or 65, which is a really good number. In the past, we held the camp in July. Over the last couple of summers, it kind of ran into the All-Stars for little girls’ softball and a lot of people are on vacation, so we moved it up to June,” said Surry head coach Jan Marion-Kiser. “It was such a success we will probably keep the date in late June.”
Marion-Kiser said the camp serves many purposes. First and foremost, it is to teach the basic fundamentals of volleyball to the grade-school campers. For the older campers, it is about helping them hone and broaden their skill sets.
“For the younger kids it is really just introducing them to the game, giving them another sport to play. In this area, so many young girls are interested in basketball and softball, but we want to introduce them to volleyball and get them interested in another sport,” she said.
“For the older girls, it is helping them further develop their skills.”
While Marion-Kiser helps to instruct, especially with the younger kids, she likes to give her Surry Knights’ players the opportunity to coach. She particularly likes to let Surry volleyball players instruct the afternoon sessions with older campers.
“I feel like the girls listen to them. They look to them a little more and listen to what they have to say, so they are able to provide excellent instruction,” Marion-Kiser said. “It is also really good for our players because it is the first interaction they get to have with the incoming freshmen, so it also serves as a team bonding session.”
That incoming class has a strong Pilot Mountain tie as three freshmen come from East Surry.
Back in March, Kacie Markle, Cheyenne Kota and Jessi Marion all announced their intentions to play at SCC this fall, providing a shot in the arm for a Knights team seeking its first Region X title since 2011.
The talented trio was instrumental in guiding the Cardinals to a 29-2 record and an appearance in the 1A state finals.
Once this fall season is over, Marion-Kiser said she hopes to implement a Saturday clinic for area youth.
The Knights start their season early this year, opening at home Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. with Sandhills Community College and Danville Community College in Dobson. Admission is free, and the Surry coach would love to have summer campers come back and support the team at that opener.
“We are hoping we can have all the campers come out and wear their shirts they got from the camp,” she said. “We would like to recognize them and for them to be a part of our season as well.”