The first stop on Cody’s Camp Tour 2011 is the Newton-Conover volleyball camp.
The camp, which is operated by the coaching staff of the Newton-Conover volleyball program, focuses on fourth through ninth graders.
More than 20 girls participated in the two-week camp and its eight sessions.
Newton-Conover volleyball coach Linda Richards, who owns more than 700 victories in her coaching career at Fred T. Foard and Newton-Conover, has operated the camp for more than 20 years.
Richards said she focuses primary on one aspect with each of the campers.
“We work on fundamentals every day, no matter what level we are on,” Richards said. “I’m all about fundamentals. Whether it is second grade or 12th grade, it is all about fundamentals. If they have their fundamentals, everything else will take care of itself.”
Many of those involved with the camp are current assistants and former or current players on the Newton-Conover squad.
Richards said all of those volunteers try to better every camper that is involved.
“The reason they volunteer and the reason I’m here is because of them,” Richards said.
Kaitlyn Wilkinson, a departing senior from the Red Devils’ varsity squad, volunteered her time to help with the camp.
She spent three years as a member of the Red Devils’ varsity squad and helped with last year’s N-C camp.
“I took away a lot from this camp,” Wilkinson said. “I learned all the fundamentals, so I can help the campers out. I learned to stay low, keep my shoulders forward and learn different perspectives on how to hit and pass the ball from different people.”
Richards said she appreciates the support from her former players at the camp.
“They are role models for these kids,” Richards said. “I appreciate them giving back to the program. That shows their passion for the sport. They received things from this camp and are giving back to others. That is what it is all about. They are giving back to volleyball what they’ve gotten out of it.”
Another benefit, Wilkinson said, is each camper’s ability to get familiar with coach Richards and her staff, so that they will be prepared when they reach the high school level of competition.
“They will be freshman next year, and I’ll be gone, but I like that I get to help them and tell them what it will all be about,” Wilkinson said. “They will be ready for coach Richards and know what to expect.”