Skyhawks look to grow the game of baseball with youth camp

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Point University’s athletic program has been hard at work throughout the summer with recruiting, but the Skyhawks have also been working in the city of West Point this summer to provide activities for the youth. 

The Skyhawks hosted a youth soccer camp in June and have already begun baseball and softball camps this week. The baseball camp kicked off on Monday and is set to last until Thursday. 

The cost of the camp was $50 for all participants. The camp is led by Point’s coaching staff and players. The ages of the participants range from four to 12. 

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Head coach John Tyler has been with Point University since 2016 and has been involved with several youth camps over the years. With the ages of the campers at this youth camp, Tyler is just using the opportunity to lay the groundwork for some of the young athletes and grow the game in West Point. 

“Just teaching the game,” Tyler said. “Just being able to get them outside, get them active and get them running around. Teaching them the ins and outs and helping them figure out what they want to do with their lives. I know they’re young, but they’re spontaneous and courageous. Just being able to help them learn a sport as difficult as baseball is a tricky thing.” 

The kids that show up to camps like the one hosted by Point’s baseball program receive knowledge about the game from players and coaches who have done it at a high level. However, the coaches and players leading the camp receive just as much from the young campers. 

As you grow in sports, the fun and youthfulness of the game can dwindle. Point’s players are getting the opportunity to see the love and fun of the game from a younger athlete’s perspective. 

“It helps them go back to their roots,” Tyler said. “It helps them become young again and find the joy and love for the game. It is a kid’s game. It’s a game in itself. Being able to get out there and help teach the game that they love to other kids that love the game, it helps them see the importance of it.” 

It is no secret that baseball still has room to grow in Chambers County and surrounding areas. Tyler and the rest of the program hope to help the sport grow in the area through camps like the one this week. 

The camp helps to grow the game, but it also helps to grow Point’s brand in West Point. The Skyhawks have become established in the area, but the school is still fairly new to the community compared to other colleges in the United States. 

“It’s definitely a huge thing for the university itself because we’ve only been here for 12 years,” Tyler said. “12 years seems like a long time, but when you look at the grand scheme of it, 12 years is not long compared to other universities that have been there for hundreds of years. Just building the institution, the brand and the communication outside of the school with the city is important. As a college athlete, who wouldn’t want to have the seats filled with fans that come and support us?”

The coaching staff at the camp works to keep the kids engaged and involved throughout the camp while also making it fun through each drill. 

The funds from the camp go to the city, but the coaches involved also get paid for their work. This allows Tyler the opportunity to pay his assistant coaches extra during the summer. The money is far from substantial, but Tyler and the coaching staff still do it for the love of the sport. 

“It’s not a lot of money in itself. In this sport you don’t do it for the money,” Tyler said. “Being able to get out there, help the kids and make a little extra money while you’re doing it, that’s something we are able to do.” 

Camps like this shine a spotlight on the lasting partnership with West Point’s parks and recreation program and Point’s athletic program. The two programs are inseparable at this point and they each have benefited from the partnership. 

“The city does so much for us,” Tyler said. “It is not just the West Point camps. These fields that we use are city fields. They put a lot of time and effort into these fields to keep them up and in shape for us whenever we come back into season. The appreciation and everything that we have for the city and the parks and recreation department is hard to put into words.”