For many youth, there is no better way to spend the summer than being outdoors at Colorado State University’s beautiful campus keeping active with new friends and camp counselors. For health and exercise science students like Ariana Bagley, being a counselor can offer career-shaping experiential learning opportunities.
This summer, the Department of Health and Exercise Science at CSU hosted the 52ndn.d annual Youth Sport Camps, aimed at kids between the ages of 5 and 13. The 2022 camp season was May 31– Aug 12, with an array of camp options offered from 8:30 am– 4:30 pm Monday-Friday.
The camps help participating youth build healthy lifestyle knowledge, such as strength, flexibility, and specific skills, in a social setting focused on fun. The activities promote both physical activity and social skills, building friendships and confidence.
This learning extends to the counselors as well. Bagley, a senior entering her final year at CSU, found that this opportunity has not only granted her a fantastic summer job but has also bolstered her leadership skills and solidified her desire to work with people and be active.
The YSC is the perfect setting for camp counselors, such as Bagley, to get a taste of being in the workforce in their area of study. Bagley has a concentration in sports medicine within the department and has found that “teach kids fundamentals within sports that they love and why exercise is important is very rewarding.”
Although Bagley is working with children, these experiences can be applied to her future career working with clients of all ages. “I’ve learned a lot of people skills and about leadership,” said Bagley, who aspires to become a personal trainer.
These rewarding experiences are amplified considering that for the last two years, the YSC has been limited due to COVID-19. Bagley admits that while this summer’s camp has been more challenging due to the increased capacity, “this really helped the campers to socialize and learn to interact with different kids.”
Bagley and the other YSC counselors have combined their ambitions with an innate desire to help others discover the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, even at an early age. Bagley has found that the kids at the YSC love the games and activities and express an eagerness to learn each day. YSC allows kids to try different activities to find ones they love, which can set them up for a lifetime of joy in a healthy lifestyle.
“The biggest lesson that I have taken away from working at YSC is that kids learn so much from an early age,” Bagley said.
Bagley was able to implement her knowledge from her health and exercise science major into the camp setting this summer where she educates the kids on why it is so
important to maintain a level of health and activity.
“Being an HES major, the majority of our classes are about exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and nutrition. With this background, we can apply those concepts and teach them to the kids in hopes that they learn a healthy lifestyle is important in life,” Bagley said.
Throughout the eight-week program, Bagley and the YSC counselors work hard to maintain the expectations of fun and learning.
“Every day is always a little bit different, but normally in the mornings, we take attendance and stretch. After that, we either do drills or games in small groups that are specific to the sport of the camp,” Bagley said. “Then, we’ll have a swim, and before the kids get picked up, we will either do scrimmages or games in larger groups to help simulate actual gameplay.”
Bagley’s work as a camp counselor reflects great dedication and love of helping others, teaching kids that even at a young age, a healthy lifestyle is both important, and fun.
“I love seeing the smiles on their faces in knowing that I made a difference,” said Bagley.
The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.