Scattered around the gym at W. T. Clarke High School last Monday morning were some 50 students, separated into teams, arranging themselves by date of birth. Coach Scott Martin, a phys.-ed.- teacher in the East Meadow School District, and the instructor of the activity, tested the students’ communication skills by challenging them to complete the exercise in silence — which was inevitably interrupted by the occasional giggle. Communicating only with their fingers, the students made their way into neat, ordered lines.
The communication exercise was a part of Project Adventure, one of the weeklong camps offered by the Creative Arts Program of East Meadow, also known as CAPE.
The three-week sports camp kicked off July 7, and offers field hockey, volleyball, basketball and flag football. It’s in its final week of 2014, hosting softball, baseball and Project Adventure. Each sports camp is separated by week, giving students entering sixth to eighth grade the freedom to choose which camp they’d like to attend.
Mike Meittinis, the program’s coordinator since 2007 and an adaptive phys.-ed.- teacher in the district, explained that Project Adventure is the most popular activity offered. It provides an alternative to team-against-team games, and is more focused on, as Coach Martin explained, “getting to know each other and [taking] risks.”
The sports camp, active since the mid-’90s, according to Meittinis, “teaches kids the basic fundamentals of each sport.” Most importantly, Meittinis added, the camp, available at $65 per week, is an affordable way “to get kids out of the house for half the day.”
As program coordinator, Meittinis chooses coaches who are certified by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. The coaches choose student aides from the district’s high schools.
While Project Adventure participants worked out their physical, mental and communication skills through a variety of team-building and trust exercises, including a rock-climbing wall, students who elected to play baseball were outside on the school’s field, sharpening their batting and base running skills with Anthony Serrapica, a district baseball coach.
“I want to work on my outfield,” said Chris Cumbo, 12, before eagerly running back to the field.
Daniel Hanrahan, 13, has participated in the program for the past three summers, and said he returns “to learn the fundamentals [of baseball] and to get better.”
The program, after three successful weeks of fitness, skill building and teamwork, will wrap on July 25.