LPM Staff

Summer sweat and civility

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It seems that in the last 10 to 15 years, physical education, or P.E., as vital as it is to growing minds and bodies, has increasingly become an elective part of the curriculum in public elementary and high schools instead of a standard in education. Like art and music, it has been shoved to the back burner, despite studies that have shown its importance in children’s physical and mental well-being.

According to a P.E. fact sheet online at the American Heart Association website, “Only 3.8 percent of elementary schools, 7.9 percent of middle schools and 2.1 percent of high schools provide daily physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year.” And nearly 25 percent of schools don’t require P.E. at all, yet 95 percent of parents believe P.E. should be part of K-12 curriculum.

So, until school district boards, administrators, parents and legislators get things straightened out, parents and students can make up for the lack of P.E. in school by going to a sports camp this summer.

The options are endless. Sports camps across the state offer everything from first-time lessons to expert coaching in many areas of athletics, with development of team attitude, good sportsmanship, confidence and leadership thrown in at every level.

Here’s a kick-start to your search.

Arizona Sunrays Camp Gymtastic

This training center has earned the title of U.S. National Team Training Center for placing gymnasts on the U.S. National Team since 1990. Owner Dan Witenstein used to be the assistant coach for ASU’s women’s gymnastics team; his wife Julie was an instructor and compulsory coach. They want kids “to experience the joy of physical activity.”

Arizona Sunrays’ summer camp has a theme every week that includes gymnastics and other sports like soccer, dodgeball, karate, swimming and obstacle courses. Seems like a good introduction to gymnastics for those showing early interest.

Age 3-12
Location 3110 E Thunderbird Road, Phoenix
Dates Weekly camps starting May 23
Fee Half-day (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.): $148; Full-day (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.): $212.50 plus registration and deposit fees
More info: arizonasunrays.com or 602-992-5790

Sun Devil Aqua Sport Camp

Arizona State University head diving coach Mark Bradshaw and the Sun Devil Divers offer this camp for just a couple of weeks, a unique opportunity for young swimmers (who are comfortable in deep pools). The camp takes place at the Mona Plummer Aquatics Center on the ASU campus. Students get instruction in swimming and springboard diving from some of the finest athletes at ASU, and though it’s not an intensive sport camp, kids will learn good technique and have fun at the same time.

Age: 7-13
Location: Mona Plummer Aquatics Center, ASU Tempe campus
Dates: June 13-17; June 20-24
Fee: $185 per week of camp (with a variety of discounts available)
More info: sundevilaquasportcamp.com or contact Coach Bradshaw at mark.bradshaw@asu.edu or 480-965-3636

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