OSU athletic summer camps open at full capacity for first time in three years

Oregon+state+senior+wrestler+Devan+Turner+shaking+hands+with+head+wrestling+coach+Chris+Pendelton+and+associate+head+coach+Nate+Engal+on+his+senior+night.+The+OSU+wrestling+team+will+host+three+wrestling+camps+over+the+summer.+

Kayla Jones, OMN Photgrapher

Oregon state senior wrestler Devan Turner shaking hands with head wrestling coach Chris Pendelton and associate head coach Nate Engal on his senior night. The OSU wrestling team will host three wrestling camps over the summer.

Sam Misa, Sports Contributor

This summer is the first time that summer athletic camps at Oregon State University have opened without COVID-19-related restrictions.

Some summer athletic camps haven’t been able to operate since the summer of 2019. This is the case with the wrestling summer program under camper director Josh Rhoden.

According to Rhoden, while he has had previous experience as a camp director at Clackamas Community College, this will be his first time directing a camp for OSU.

“It’s just exciting to get people back on campus here in Corvallis, to be honest,” Rhoden said. “It’s just a unique way for kids to experience what we’re doing here and to meet the staff and be around us.”

Alongside Rhoden and the rest of the coaching staff for the wrestling camps, eight to ten members of the OSU wrestling team are planning to help coach the campers as well.

“I think it’s just an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves and get our guys involved in helping young people enjoy the sport that we all have been afforded the opportunity to enjoy,” Rhoden said.

Rhoden’s camps are set to run from late June into early July with three separate camps that range in age from 12th grade down to the kindergarten level.

While Rhoden and his part of OSU athletics have been shut down for the past couple of years, other sports camps, including gymnastics and volleyball were more fortunate.

“Last year there were, I think 30 athletes maximum, no more than 10 people in a group,” said camp director of the gymnastics summer camp as well as associate head gymnastics coach, Bryan Raschilla. “There were all kinds of crazy restrictions. Then again, by the time we actually got to camp, they were lifted.”

According to Raschilla, who is himself entering his second year as camp director for gymnastics at OSU, summer athletic camps help provide experience to new or young coaches.

“My daughter is actually a volleyball player and loves to do gymnastics camps because she’s six foot three and knows how to spot,” Raschilla said. “But yeah, they’re just camps that can, for the most part, be a great positive learning experience for coaches and athletes.”

For Raschilla, his summer camps for gymnastics will run from mid-June to mid-September and feature four different options for participants 8 years or older.

Alongside Rhoden’s and Raschilla’s camps are the volleyball camps organized and directed by Alyssa Whitney.

According to Whitney, most of the volleyball camps at OSU have already been sold out two months before their starts, which is the first time this has happened for Whitney in her six years of coaching at OSU.

“I think post-COVID people are just kind of ready to get back to it and get out and moving and enjoy the things that they once loved,” Whitney said. “In general, we found that it’s booming this year.”

For Whitney, whose camps are reaching participation levels of up to 240 campers, expansion of the camps will be difficult because of the limitations of the volleyball courts on campus.

“We have been in talks about if this interest continues,” Whitney said. “How can we expand the camp for more participants to be able to enjoy it, but also keeping obviously the risk and safety factors in mind and just making sure that everybody is happy and healthy?”

Following the guidelines put forward by OSU, none of the camps have any COVID-19 vaccine requirements, but all of them are taking precautions to avoid the spreading of the virus.