August 01, 2018
By: Leah Kocse
With a smile on her face, 2nd year Moravian field hockey head coach Kristen Gillis looked out onto John Makuvek turf field, excited to see such a large turnout for their weeklong field hockey camp. According to Gillis, and some of the current players, the team had held 1 day clinics in the past, but this was the first time for a full day, 4 day camp, and there were actually 2 of them going on at the same time. The Little Hounds Camp was for girls ages 6-to-10, while the Greyhound Field Hockey Summer camp was for the older girls, ages 11-to-18. Gillis had only done little advertising for the camps, so to see close to 60 total campers registered, was a nice surprise. The turnout was even more exciting for another reason, it meant that there's a growing interest for field hockey in the Lehigh Valley! and for field hockey at Moravian College!
We spoke with one camper at the Little Hounds Camp, Beth Hrehovcik, who was thrilled to be at the camp. When we asked her if she had been to Moravian before, she said "yes" with a BIG smile, "my sister plays field hockey here". Of course, I had to reply, "and you look up to your sister, and you want to be just like her, right?!?". She giggled a bit and smiled some more saying "yes". I told her that I was like that too. When I was younger, I saw my sister doing Cheerleading, so I wanted to be a cheerleader also. It's common to want to be just like your older sibling, you look up to them as role models. Then that got me thinking, how do we know which sports are children want to play?
When you think about it, sports are usually introduced to children by parents, an older sibling, or whichever feeder programs are available. I can tell you, for young children looking to get their start on a team, there really only are a handful of sports available. For specialty sports like Volleyball, Lacrosse, and Field Hockey, many parents find they have to wait until their children are older, to register them on a team. That's what makes summer camps, like this one, so important. Why not enroll your child in a summer camp where they can try out a new sport. Why not give them the chance to see if maybe they like it.
At the Little Hounds Camp, the girls are introduced to the game of field hockey, and taught the fundamentals. By the end of the week, the hope is that they learned enough to participate in an actual game. Another great benefit at this camp, all the hockey sticks for the little ones were donated by USA Field Hockey. That's a HUGE benefit financially, especially when many of them are trying out the sport for the first time.
For the older ones, they start each day at the Greyhound Field Hockey Camp with going through skill and tactical drills, working on all areas of the game, and in the last session of each day, they compete in gameplay.
While at the camp, I spotted 2 of my daughters' friends, Ella and Hailey, who both played with Gia last year on her basketball team through N.Y.A.A. They both were enjoying the camp, which you can see by the smiles on their faces, and having fun is a top priority at the camp. When asked what she hopes her campers leave with, Coach Gillis' reply was that she hoped they learned something new, had fun and loved Moravian saying "That's why I came here to Coach", with a BIG smile. That is the hope not only at Moravian but everywhere in the Lehigh Valley where field hockey is played. Without feeder programs for the little ones, the hope is that they are introduced to the sport in other ways, like camps, so that they will be able to compete at the highest level as they get older, and maybe one day in college. Coach Gillis hopes, that one day, that choice will be Moravian.