First day of camp and jittery nerves go together like bread and butter. Julia Duffy looks back at her 12-year-old self and remembers quite clearly how nervous she was. As she got off the bus to walk across the long field, she met a camper from a neighboring town. By the time they reached the end of the field, her nerves had calmed down and she had made a new friend. For Julia, this chance encounter ended up leading to a long-term friendship with her new friend's older sister.
Julia and her younger brother were outgrowing their local town camp and family friends recommended Future Stars Camp. Since then, Julia and her brother have spent all or most of their last 6 summers at Future Stars’ SUNY Purchase Camp location.
Now at 18 and a senior in high school, Julia was a camp counselor for the last 2 years and 3 years ago she was a Counselor-in-Training (CIT). Her young brother was a CIT last year. Julia says, " I went to soccer camp with my brother but I quickly made new friends. I still keep in touch with a lot of campers from my first year. I even plan to visit some of them at their universities”
Julia loved soccer camp, she tried tennis camp but came right back to soccer. Julia plays soccer for her high school and attributes her game skills to her first counselor, Anna Edwards. Anna is now Julia's manager and current Soccer Director at Future Stars (FS) Camp. Great rapport with your manager improves employees' potential and morale, Julia says, "I feel really comfortable asking Anna for advice when I need help with my own counseling."
At camp, Julia made a lot of new friends from different towns and even different countries. She remembers playing soccer with French and Italian campers. When asked what her camp experience was like she said, " My time at FS Camps, in a nutshell, was a great experience where I made a lot of new, diverse friends who all shared a common interest with me."
However, her voice takes a real lilt when she talks about how she loved the drills and games both as a camper and as a counselor. "Typically, each day of the week at soccer camp has a theme. Monday is dribbling, Tuesday is passing, Wednesday is 3v3 tournaments, Thursday is shooting, and Friday is competition day. The counselors really kept me engaged with a good mix of drills and games, along with competition to get us all moving. This experience later taught me to be engaging as a counselor as well. Individually, I’d say I became more confident in my abilities as a player through countless skill drills, and as a team player, I really learned to work with other players of different skill levels."
Julia's FS Camp journey from young camper to mature counselor has been fulfilling. "Being a soccer counselor, in my opinion, means keeping the campers engaged and having fun, as well as, teaching them about a sport I love. I’ve been a counselor for two years and I am playing soccer at my high school. I am not looking to play soccer at a varsity level in college, but possibly at a club level depending on where I end up."
There are so many aspects to camp and Julia said, "My favorite part of Future Stars were the scrimmages at the end of the day, where different groups of different ages came together and formed teams to play a full 11v11 game. The counselors would join together and have a “draft” and we would have a week long tournament with our teams, and everyone really gets into it."
You can’t talk about a day camp and not mention food. "There is an option to bring lunch but the food was so good at camp. We had a salad bar, pasta station, sandwich station and hot lunch. It was really cool to go into a college cafeteria and chose what I wanted to eat."
Future Stars Camps is not just all about the drills, games and the food. "Jordan Snider, Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, has had a lasting impression on me because of his dedication to the camp. Jordan makes an effort to visit soccer camp every day, and even takes the time to join a scrimmage or game. Every year that I come back to FS, I see a lot of the same people but I also make new friends. It has been a great experience for me, from camper to counselor, and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in soccer."
Julia, wherever you end up, they will be lucky to have you. Thank you too for all the gifts that you have brought to us!
UPDATE (February 27, 2019): Julia is 20 years old, a pre-med student at the University of Michigan, with plans to major in Public Health. Julia has not played soccer since highschool but she will be running her first half marathon in the near future.
Check out: Future Stars Soccer Camp
Image Credit: Julia Duffy