WEST ORANGE, NJ – Rising seventh and eight graders from West Orange completed their summer camp with Write On Sports on Friday, July 17, 2015 at Montclair State University. Students and parents alike gathered in a lecture hall at Montclair State University and enjoyed pizza as camp staff members were introduced.
Founded by former AP writer Byron Yake, Write On Sports is currently in its 10th year serving the community in three different states, all for free.
Even though this summer just started a few weeks ago, and there are still programs waiting to begin, Yake noted, “It’s been an exceptional year already!”
In the past 10 years, over 800 children have been a part of this two-week camp, and many have gone on to hold internships with WoS.
Focusing on sports, students get to develop and improve their writing skills by focusing on a subject they all enjoy and have a passion for.
This year, 31 students from the West Orange school district participated in the WoS two- week program. The goal is simple, said Yake. He wants, “to inspire kids to write by teaching them how to write about sports.”
During the end-of-session event, each student had their time in the spotlight. One by one, they were called upon and each student informed the audience what they spent their summer working on. Each student produced a feature story that was then compiled into a magazine to be distributed at the end of the day, and created a video presentation relating to the world of sports.
Students’ topics ranged from discrimination in women’s sports, pay inequality in women’s sports, home plate collisions, the recent FIFA scandal, sports in video games, competitive eating, and more.
In their video presentations, students took into account all view points and it was clear that topics were research and were topics that the students were passionate about.
“For my feature story I did sports injuries off field and for my video, I did distance runners versus sprinters,” said student Victoria Harris.
Other students took a look at comparing great athletes like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, while some looked at the fascination of athletes and their sneaker lines.
While videos were rolling, parent commentary could be heard across the room. Many parents and guests noted that feature stories and videos were smart, funny, in depth, and thought provoking.
“Great Job,” “These kids really know what they are doing,” “That was really good,” “These are smart kids,” were the praise that the students’ work was getting from the audience. Parents said they were generally impressed with all of the work that was done and were proud of students other than their own children.
West Orange parent Anne Egan had nothing but praise for the Write on Sports program that her son Vincent participated in. For some students, this was their second summer with WoS. However, this was Vincent’s first. His mother said it was “absolutely beneficial for him.”
“Having the opportunity to participate in a camp program of this caliber that was also a lot of fun, was fantastic for Vincent. It helped expand his thinking about other opportunities and careers possible in the world of sports” said Egan.
What makes this camp even more special is that the teaching staff including interns all has a connection to the camp and the West Orange community and school system, according to Yake.