This summer, kids of all ages attended sports camps and clinics on Bowdoin’s campus. Most of the camps serve recruiting method for athletes to Bowdoin programs and to prepare them for collegiate athletics.
While these camps and clinics are run by Bowdoin coaches and use Bowdoin facilities, they are not affiliated with the College. The athletic department doesn’t explicitly benefit from the sports camps, but the College does make revenue from use of facilities and room and board fees that each camp pays.
The camps, representing all three sports seasons, are popular. Some, such as the Polar Bear Girls Lacrosse Camp, have experienced especially high interest in recent years. From 2008 to 2016, the lacrosse camp filled all of its overnight spots to capacity. This year, between campers and staff, there were more than 220 people staying overnight for the camp, in addition to commuters.
The women’s lacrosse camp is among the most attended camps. Others, such as the squash camp and men’s tennis camp had 10-15 attendees each, due mainly to the individual nature of the sport and the facilities available.
The increase in summer camps corresponds to a general trend across the country toward largely using showcases, travel teams and recruiting clinics in the collegiate athletic process. This trend has altered not only the culture of recruiting, but has also caused the process to begin during the spring and summer before a recruit’s senior year of high school, if not earlier.
“The extent to which colleges use summer camps as a recruiting tool varies widely by institution,” said Women’s Soccer Head Coach Brianne Weaver in an email to the Orient. “We focus on player development and imparting knowledge in a positive learning environment and recruiting (depending on the age of the camper).”
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