BaxterSports Summer 2022 by the numbers:
# of campers – 1400+
# of coaches – 72
# of Youth Leaders – 40
# of camps – 26
# of locations – 10
We continued to break previous year records in every category, and this past summer was our biggest yet! We had more camps and more campers than ever before. We doubled the number of park locations from last year, and we expanded our reach further North and South. We upped our coaching staff, and we offered even more opportunities for youth leadership development (our coaches-in-training program) than in any previous summer. We were able to offer additional weeks of our specialized camps such as Competitive Soccer and All Girls, and we even got to take our first ever field trip to the Sellwood Pool!
As always, we could not do this without our community of BaxterSports families. We are so grateful to everyone for your ongoing support of our program and our mission!
As with all transitions, it is still important to reflect on what we gain as well as what we lose amidst all of this positive growth. Here are some things this summer has taught us…
- This camp has grown beyond our immediate circle of moms, dads and kids, and that’s okay. This camp started with a SE Portland dad, his son, and some of their friends, and it has grown exponentially with every passing summer. Brian may no longer be able to recognize every parent at pick up and drop off, and there are some kids who may pass through whose names he may never learn, but he is still always available to return a phone call, give a high five, and listen as a teenage coach recounts an “aha” moment they experienced with their group of campers. When he can’t be there in person, Brian has empowered his camp directors and staff to be the most professional, proactive and reactive communicators they can be while still recognizing and appreciating their own personal styles and the personality they bring as individuals.
- No two weeks of camp are the same. Yes, there is a lot that is consistent (being outside, dodgeball, occasional bee stings, dodgeball, public restrooms, dodgeball), but the dynamic of kids and coaches, as well as the park location, the weather, even the level of interest in our special events like the Talent Show, can change the overall feel and flow of a camp. We can not guarantee that your camper is going to have the same experience every time, but that also makes every week exciting and new, and worth sending your kid to over and over again.
- We are still small enough to problem solve and pivot. We had a fantastic week of All Sports Camp at Westmorelend Park this June, but when we returned for a second week in August, the fields of this amazing park had been “repurposed” as the public restroom for massive flocks of geese. Rather than spend our time dodging and weaving through goose poop, we sprinted! We moved our staff, equipment, field permit, and 70 campers to nearby Sellwood Park the next day. This turned out to be Coach Jake’s favorite park of the summer, and we proved that we’re still an agile enough organization to make immediate changes in order to create a superior camp experience.
- The pool of future BaxterSports coaches keeps expanding. Coach Jake says time and time again that “the camps make the coaches and the coaches make the camps.” The BaxterSports crew is primarily composed of former BaxterSports campers who are thoroughly invested in providing the same athleticism, energy, sense of fair play, and fun that they experienced at our camps to a new generation of BaxterSports kids and families. Through our Youth Leadership Development and Future Coaches Training programs, we work on providing current and former campers with the tools they need to hone their leadership skills and to help our directors run successful camps on the field. The more campers we enroll every summer, the more candidates we see for future positions in our organization.
- The bigger we grow, the more people may notice when we shrink. It is always our goal to provide BaxterSports families with the same level of quality, programming, and service during the school year as we do during the summer; however, without a designated indoor space and limited year-round staff, this can be a challenge. You may not see us popping up in your in-box every week between now and June, but we will always let you know when we are planning single-day and week-long camps during school breaks, small group training opportunities, and fun events like Epic Dodgeball League. If you are planning an event at your school or for a youth sports organization, and you think that involvement from BaxterSports could make it even better, please always feel free to reach out to us! You never know, it could be the perfect fit for our off-season staff. We are always looking for opportunities to introduce ourselves to future BaxterSports camp families.