SALAMANCA — Over a hundred students in the Salamanca City Central School District took advantage of the beautiful weather this summer by participating in the second year of the Summer Skills Athletic Camps and Summer Swim programs.
Athletic Director Chad Bartoszek thanked the district and Board of Education during its regular meeting Tuesday for supporting the camp in its second year as well as reintroducing the summer swim program after several years without.
The athletic camps began July 11 and ran for six consecutive weeks, Monday through Thursday, for two hours in the afternoon with 10 sports run by the department’s staff and coaches.
“The goal is to provide instruction as well as supervision to make sure we’re utilizing the different spaces on campus and doing it safely,” Bartoszek said. “We did have a few new options this year, and in some of the instances you might see some numbers that are higher.”
Boys/Girls Soccer averaged 25 students per day; Track and Field, 26; Baseball, 18; Softball, 12; Football, 30; Boys Lacrosse, 12; Girls Lacrosse, 8; Boys Basketball, 26; Girls Basketball, 23; and Tennis, 8.
Bartoszek said several factors impacted participation, such as some sports being in-season during the summer so students are likely playing that sport elsewhere besides the camp.
“Overall, our numbers improved from last year, and that was great to see,” he added, “as well as adding a couple new opportunities for our kids.”
The summer swim, headed by Anna Gifford and a team of 10 Salamanca student lifeguards, also began July 11. Bartoszek said the program ran Monday through Thursday in two sets of three consecutive weeks for a total of six weeks of lessons in order to engage more students.
“Last year we went six weeks straight and we weren’t able to get all the students to commit to six weeks but they were taking a space,” he said.
This summer, 121 kids signed up for the program and the school served 91 students, Bartoszek said. The ratio of lifeguards to students was one lifeguard to five swimmers with two lifeguards on chairs focused on the water, and the lifeguards rotated every other class.
An open swim time was also offered for a couple of hours in the afternoon that averaged about 15 people a day with 10 lifeguards that worked part-time all summer.
“The fact we were able to hire and keep 10 guards is something I know other places were struggling with, so we’re proud of that,” he said. “The support we get from the administration and board to accomplish that goal, I believe it’s starting to build.”
Last year it was such a struggle to get the summer swim program going because there were few lifeguards courses and the First Aid/CPR course was hard to come by, Bartoszek said. Thankfully, the district got enough lifeguards in time, and all of them who could come back for this year did. All the routines and procedures have been established.
Additionally, the district offered the chance for participants to fill out a survey we sent through their email to get feedback on how the program went, and Bartoszek said the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The only issue we get is it’s a little hot from 12:30 to 2:30, but we want to match it in line with our summer programming educationally so students can go right from their morning class work right to some afternoon athletics, so I think it fits pretty well,” he said.
LOOKING FORWARD to this year, the school board appointed two Varsity Club advisors Tuesday night for a new club that Bartoszek said is an opportunity for student athletes to have a voice in some decision-making.
“It really needs to be a student-run club where they will be providing ideas and opportunities for sportsmanship and camaraderie,” he said. “The Varsity Club aspect is any varsity athlete is able to be a part of it.”
Inside the Varsity Club will be a smaller student-athlete advisory committee to help provide leadership, Bartoszek said.
Several ideas for the student athletes have already been suggested, one being a homecoming week where every club member attends a different sporting event that week — such as a volleyball match Monday, swimming on Tuesday, cross country on Wednesday, soccer game Thursday and football game Friday — to bring some additional school spirit to the stands.
Another idea was bringing in speakers to address them, such as the negative effects of drugs or vaping on athletic performance, Bartoszek explained.
“Things that are specific to student athletes, and maybe we can focus in on some of those things,” he added.
Another piece of the club is to have student voices heard when things come up in the district, Bartoszek said. He said the district wants to acknowledge their thoughts and ideas because it is beneficial to hear from those who are affected by our decisions.
“I’m glad we have two (club advisor) candidates that will try to get the ground running and try to get something in front of Homecoming Week,” he added.