Thompson volleyball brings fun and energy to Little Warrior Volleyball Camp

Published 8:55 am Thursday, July 27, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – Not every volleyball camp mixes setting drills with lip sync contests, but Thompson volleyball did just that during the Little Warrior Volleyball Camp.

Over 110 campers came out for the three-day camp from July 24-26, and the team brought the energy each day to make the camp memorable, especially Thompson varsity volleyball coach Judy Green, who has a special place in her heart for this camp.

“Camp is special to me personally,” Green said. “When I was a kid, my greatest experiences as an athlete growing up from the time I was 11 years old until the time I finished high school was going to camps.”

Green especially cherished the time she had with older players at those camps, and since her players are fully involved in the camp, she hopes those kids can have the same great experience that she had.

“I met so many cool people and had so many players to look up to, and I hope that’s what our campers get from our camp, is that it was an experience that they got to look to the older players and go, ‘Oh, I want to be like her one day. She is so cool,’” Green said. “It’s also a way for our players to build the community interest in volleyball, and I do think that we in Alabaster, we do have a really big interest in the sport of volleyball, and that makes me so excited.”

The players gave the campers high fives and hugs and got to hang out with them during activities each day, and Green strives to have her players give each other those same Energy Giving Behaviors, in her words, during games and practices.

It’s that positivity and energy that helps leave an impact on the campers, and as Green says, it’s easy for the players to do that because that’s the kind of people they are.

“I just tell them, “‘always just be who you are,’” Green said. “’That’s what makes you unique and it’s what makes you a really good Thompson Volleyball player.’”

Throughout the week, the players got to do just that while teaching them volleyball skills like passing, setting, hitting and serving. Through teaching the campers, the players not only got to help the next generation learn the game, but Green said it also helped the players learn more through teaching.

The campers also had creative and fun activities off the court during craft time, when they made volleyball ornaments and necklaces, and the massive team lip sync contest on the final day of camp.

That combination of on and off-court activities is what makes the camp unique in Green’s eyes.

“It’s a camp that allows them to learn about volleyball, but it’s also a camp that allows them to have fun and just do something different that they ordinarily wouldn’t do in the summertime,” Green said.

The camp is also impactful to the community in two important ways. The first is because of the lack of volleyball opportunities in the city, which in Green’s eyes, is mainly because Alabaster does not have a recreation center.

Green runs both the Warrior Volleyball Academy and the Little Warrior Camp, which both run through Thompson. Green is grateful to have the quality of facilities that Thompson has so she can teach the game of volleyball as many kids as possible.

“This particular summer camp, it’s really the only show in town when it comes to volleyball, so it’s kind of exciting in a way,” Green said. “And obviously, our facilities at the high school are just so good. We have the space to accommodate a lot of kids that are interested in learning about the game.

The other important role the camp plays is in growing boys volleyball, as the camp is not limited to just girls. Boys volleyball is a fast-growing sport, but boys only have the opportunity to play beach volleyball in Alabama, which differs greatly from the on-court version.

By letting boys participate in the camp, Green and Thompson are giving local boys an opportunity to play volleyball that they might only get from a club team in a big city, which helps to grow the game in Alabaster and the Birmingham area.