Houlton Finds New Way to Encourage Sports Participation

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 2:10 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Houlton’s athletic programs noticed a lack of student-athletes this year. They couldn’t field a baseball team and other programs lacked in student-athletes as well. so interim athletic director, Jon Solomon decided that he had to do something. He decided to create Shires Camps.

“The purpose for the Shires Camp was to get kids back active,” Solomon said. “We’re trying to build up the numbers for the programs across the board. So, each varsity coach has a chance to run a camp for three or four days this summer.”

The camps began on June 14th, but much thought and planning went into them before that.

“We started to take a look at where are we losing kids between the youth level, the middle school level, and the high school level and how can we start building that relationship back and getting our coaches involved and just getting that relationship with kids at a younger level so we can keep our numbers growing,” Solomon said.

Varsity athletes help out.

“It’s a great way for our high school kids to give back to their sports that they like, for the younger kids to come see who they watch play on the varsity levels no matter what sport that it is,” Solomon said.

“I really wanted to give back to the community and one of the ways to do that is by helping through these camps,” said student-athlete, Isabella Ardell. “It’s also really nice to see the young talent and just the kids having fun really.”

“It’s very important to build the relationships because by the time they get to ninth grade and come to me, they’re already familiar with me, they’re familiar with each other so it’s a lot easier transitioning into high school soccer,” said varsity soccer coach, Marina Cameron.

This is the first time the camp was held, but Solomon says, they are looking to make it an annual occurrence.

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