During the second week of June, the School of Kinesiology hosted 25 high school students at its first-ever Sports Science Camp. The students came to the Auburn campus from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C. Directed by Kristin Roberts, the Sports Science Camp was conducted by faculty and staff from the School of Kinesiology in the College of Education. Its purpose was to allow rising 9th through 12th graders interested in the fields of exercise science, physical activity, and sport performance to see how these disciplines work at a top-rated program like Auburn’s.
“The first thing we did on Monday was take a tour of the building and the labs so the students could get an overview of our facility,” Roberts said. “After that, the camp was basically a combination of lectures, labs, and physical activity. It was set up like a day in the life of a Kinesiology undergrad.”
Students were also able to visit the MRI facility in the Auburn Research Park, and tour the new Student Rec Center. They stayed at Broun Hall and ate their meals at various campus dining facilities.
“One academic highlight was going to Dr. Matt Miller’s class for a lecture on motor learning and sports psychology,” Roberts said. “Afterwards we went to his lab and two doctoral students did an actual lab they do with undergrads. It was a ball toss to see how close they could come to the target, and then they measured the distance from the X and Y axis to see how accurate and precise their tosses were. They did great. Even doctoral student Andrew Thompson remarked on how smart they were and asked such good questions.”
The students also engaged in a speed and agility session with Drs. Gretchen Oliver and Wendy Weimar. They learned proper running form and quick starts. The biggest hit of the camp was introducing the students to team handball.
“On Tuesday night the students were able to play handball with the USA Team Handball squad,” Roberts said. “They were able to get on the court with the players for a couple of hours, and it went really well. We have a long-range goal of promoting team handball in the region, especially since we are now home for the USA Men’s and Women’s National Teams and an official Olympic Training Site.”
Another popular activity was yoga with Dr. Danielle Wadsworth Wednesday morning, and a seminar on Mindfulness with doctoral student Ford Dyke. The campers were also able to see health and fitness assessments in the School’s TigerFit program, led by Mynor Rodriguez.
“We also had three other on-campus camps send their students to us for various activities,” Roberts said. “We did team handball with the Loachapoka Explores Auburn Days (LEAD) Camp and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Camp, both of which are run by the Truman Pierce Institute in the College of Education. The LEAD session was conducted by Sarah Gascon and Jence Rhoads, both Ph.D students of Dr. Oliver’s, and USA Women’s National Team players. The Community Learning Centers Camp session was conducted by players from the Auburn University Team Handball Club.
The third group was the Black Belt Legacy Camp which brought 52 middle schoolers from West Alabama to Auburn for the week. They toured the Kinesiology Building with Roberts, and did a physical activity with Dr. Alice Buchanan at the Coliseum.
A very similar Sports Science Camp will be held in July for Junior High students.
“In the long run this will be a terrific recruiting tool for us,” Roberts said. “A lot of these students want to go into physical therapy and sports medicine. Sr. Ron Beyers at the MRI Center remarked on how good these students were. Parents have been writing saying their children now want to come here. So we’re really pleased with that, and appreciate the great work of the Office of Professional and Continuing Education. I’m already looking forward to next year!”
Visit the Auburn Youth Programs website to learn more about the Sports Science Camp.