Last week, the next generation of Ultimate players participated in American Ultimate Academy's competitive overnight Ultimate Frisbee camp. Over the course of five days, 35 campers representing seven states converged on Trinity Washington University in Washington D.C. to play some Ultimate!
After checking in on Sunday, players were given a tour of the facilities. American Ultimate Academy (AUA) had the entire dorm to itself, and the campers were scattered among the second and third floors. The main floor offered us a spacious, air conditioned lobby, which housed the majority of campers throughout free time. The lobby had enough space to hold 3 separate spikeball game, and multiple tables that were filled with table games. The couches were sprinkled with campers enjoying mid-day siestas.
The next stop was the dining hall, which offered three full meals every day and several different options each time we came in. The final stop on our campus tour was the field, and it stole the show. A brand new, million dollar manicured natural grass field was waiting for us. Over the course of five mornings we were at camp, the field was cut 3 times! Our layout friendly campers approved.
On Monday morning 50 new discs were awaiting the players, and the training kicked off. Players cycled between four stations to increase their throwing ability. USA National Team member Nicky Spiva came down from Philadelphia for the day, teaching the the campers to attack deep with power throws and crafty ways to move and break the mark. After the throwing sessions, players got a quick break before learning special cutting shapes.
After a 90 minute lunch and rest break, players would make the ascent to the field for the afternoon session. 3 full teams had been arranged, which would give each team the chance to practice together,then play as a team.
The structure for the days remained the same all week, aside from the post dinner events. Cleats on and casual throwing kicked things off at 9am, where Certified Athletic Trainer Chris Yamoah would tape up and stretch any players needing his service. Next up was skill development stations throughout the morning followed by lunch and siestas and team time in the afternoon. The three teams battled each afternoon, and our AUA’s inaugural camp champion was ‘Face Eater’, led by Ted Sither and Johnny Malks.
Activity Coordinator Tyler Monroe had special games and activities planned for the campers. On Monday Tyler brought all the campers back up to the field for a camp wide game that lasted well into the sunset. On Tuesday, the camp switched to a classroom setting for presentation on Gender Equity in Ultimate, followed by camper-led group discussions on strategies and anecdotes. Tuesday night ended with the group watching some amazing Callahan videos! Wednesday brought us back to the same classroom, where Alex ‘Dutchy’ Ghesquiere, the National Team Head Coach ran a Q + A about a wide variety of Ultimate related topics and stories. After the Q+A players were led back to the field where 10 gallons of ice cream and every desired topping was waiting for them. 7 Campers enthusiastically took the coaches up the offer to run a hill sprint to get to the front of the line.
Tyler saved the most anticipated event for Thursday evening, the Camper vs Counselor game. From Sunday evening, whispers had started about predictions on the Camper VS Counselor game. One bold camper claimed the campers would shut out the coaches. The instructors, who took their responsibility as role models seriously, avoided talking trash back and decided to show up and let their game speak. One hour later, a 15-3 victory was had by the coaches, who were pleasantly surprised at the three goals the campers put in.
Camp Director and coach Rowan claimed, “If they didn’t score any we probably didn’t do our job as coaches this week”.
Camper MVP Simon Covington (Carolina Friends School) picked up 2 goals, skying two separate (well known) coaches, that will remain nameless in the article.
As the Camper VS Counselor game wound down, the adjacent field was starting to pick up. 30 of the best players in the city had arrived to showcase Elite Ultimate. The two best local teams, Truck Stop and Scandal split up by age for a co-ed game in front of the onlooking campers. Campers took to the side line and witnessed ‘Team Old’ prevail 15-13. Pizza was served to all and campers enjoyed there last sunset at camp throwing and playing lawn games.
After an intense week, players unanimously voted to sacrifice 30 minutes of sleeping in to get a head start on Friday, allowing us to make the most out of our morning block. Playing in front of local parents on another beautiful day, camp concluded with a 4-team ‘Hat Tournament’.
American Ultimate Academy would love to extend a warm thank you to the parents, players and coaches, as well as the staff at Trinity for giving all an unforgettable week.
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