Echo Ranch sports camps

Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2009

Echo Ranch has sports camps. We offer both soccer and basketball camps designed for a variety of age groups and experience. Whether a player is just starting the game or is looking to take their game to the next level, Echo Ranch is a great place to learn the basics and optimize potential. Players will learn the importance of teamwork and sportsman-like conduct with an emphasis on having fun and enjoying the game.

Soccer camp runs from June 22-27 for ages 8-15. We do our best to recruit top quality coaches from around the country to run this camp. The typical coach will bring five to 10 college-age players as assistants and then design the program for the week. In the morning, players focus on practice stations and refining specific skills. In the afternoon is free time when the camp store is open along with Echo Ranch activities like canoeing, archery, BB guns and so on. The players then gather for a motivational talk to encourage them on the field and in the game of life. After dinner, players will head to the field for our World Cup Tournament competing as different countries. All players receive a soccer camp T-shirt, participation medal, and awards for outstanding performance.

Echo Ranch has been blessed with a grass playing field that is awesome for soccer. There is plenty of room to run multiple games and stations. Our coaches use this space to group players with similar skill levels into smaller teams. Beginners will have time to work on the fundamentals while the advanced player can focus on areas that may need improvement. Water and Gatorade are always available to keep players hydrated, and the camp nursing staff is available to assist with any scrapes and bruises. Campers eat three hearty meals a day and have a scheduled rest time to help boost energy. We want each player operating at their best.

Basketball camp has two dedicated sessions: June 22-25 for ages 9-11 and June 25-28 for ages 12-15. The director of Echo Ranch, Rick Shaner, spent 10 years as a high school boys basketball coach in northwestern Ohio. Shaner started our basketball program back in 2004, wanting to share his love for the game with the youth of Southeast. The Echo Ranch field house has six basketball nets on an oversized court that allows room for small group activities.

An overwhelming theme for basketball camp is teamwork. The players will learn about team concepts and working together in the gym. Outside of the gym we take the players through our camp initiatives or better known as the challenge course. This also gives Shaner a glimpse at possible leaders and how to motivate them to set a positive example for the other players.

Campers who attend basketball camp also will have free time similar to that of soccer camp. Echo Ranch activities like the trading post and the zipline (if they're older than 10) will be open during the day. In the evening, three-on-three and five-on-five tournaments take place until bedtime.

When it comes to the intensity level of basketball camp it all depends on the players and what they bring to the table. If Shaner sees he is dealing with some advanced athletes, then he can turn things up a notch. But if there are players who require work on the fundamentals, they will be given the attention needed.

One week during the summer Echo Ranch Bible Camp becomes Echo Ranch sports camp. The counselors volunteer as score- and time-keepers. The head cook makes sure the campers have Gatorade on the table. The camp director becomes a head coach. Important lessons are taught such as how to deal humbly with success and how to learn from losses. The biblical concept of treating others as you want to be treated is not only talked about but demonstrated. God has given us sports and the physical ability to play, why not enjoy it? For more information on Echo Ranch sports camps and to register online, visit

• Jon-Michael Gwinnell is a staff member at Echo Ranch Bible Camp. He can be reached at

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