Sunday 1 September 2013

Bradford Bulls Summer Camp

A huge majority of my time is taken up within the world of Rugby these days.  That does however, not mean that all I ramble on about is the sport.  Nor does it mean that I am in any way "sporty" myself.
But I have learnt to embrace the world of rugby and simply "go with the flow".

With this in mind, I spent 9 hours (yep - 9 HOURS) of my day yesterday watching my son's rugby team take part in, and win might I add, a kiddies rugby tournament.


I figured that after all of those hours spent watching the sport, it's only fair that this post should be dedicated to it...and you can't get more "rugby" in Bradford than The Bradford Bulls (@OfficialBullsRL)!!  :)

Over the past six weeks, my 7 year old son has attended a Rugby Summer Camp with The Bradford Bulls, organised by The Bradford Bulls Foundation (@BullsFoundation), and he has absolutely loved it!

I first heard about the camp through The Bulls Development Officer, Richard Tate and found that a camp was being offered to children aged between 6-14 years, boy or girl, with any level of rugby skill, to take place each Friday 10am-2pm at The Bradford Bulls Stadium, Bradford, BD6 1BS.

Now, my son, being the typical 7 year old that he is, has a tendency to want to do something to begin with, and then quickly loose interest, so initially I was a little apprehensive to pay the £60 combined cost for the camps, but knowing how much he loves rugby, he convinced me he would stick at it, so I signed him up.

!!And I'm so glad I did!!

Over the 5 weeks, the Camps focused on teaching the children specific skills, and gave them an opportunity to train with different Bulls Players each week:
  • Kicking Camp featuring Danny Addy, Jamie Foster, Luke Gale & Adam O'Brien
  • Bash Camp featuring John Bateman, Manase Manuokafoa, Nick Scruton & Chev Walker
  • Legends Camp featuring Robbie Hunter-Paul
  • Aussie Camp featuring Heath L'Estrange, Jarrod Sammut, Adrian Purtell & Brett Kearney
  • Team Bulls Camp featuring the entire 2013 First Team Squad
The skills taught to the children were brilliant and definitely things they could keep with them, and improve on themselves at home.
Plus having an opportunity to train with your sporting idol - what child wouldn't love that.

The camps were really well organised.  Parents were given all the information needed to help put their minds at ease, knowing their children would be left in very capable hands throughout the day.
If they wanted to stay and watch, parents were welcomed to do so, however, if they wanted to leave their children to train, parents were told this was fine also, allowing a few hours of freedom....or "Shopping Time" as I liked to call it!  :)
The children too were briefed before each session on what the day would hold for them and were reminded of the rules of the day.
Everyone knew exactly what was happening, why and when, and I think this was a really important factor in helping things run smoothly, especially for the children.

And then, once the day was over, and the children were half asleep, covered in mud, but grinning from ear to ear, The Bulls Players were more than happy to pose for numerous photographs with the hordes of children.  They happily signed what must have seemed like a thousand shirts, medals, photographs, boots and anything else the children threw their way, all whilst speaking to them and giving praise on their efforts throughout the day.
Praise from their idols - what could be better!

The cost of the Summer Camp also included a group photograph and a medal/trophy after each session for the children to take home as a memento of their time with the players - a fantastic touch!!

The whole Summer Camp was structured around the children and making them happy, helping improve their confidence, and giving them the chance to learn new skills.

Not once did my son utter anything about not wanting to go back - which speaks volumes in my book.

If I had to find any fault with the camp, my only criticism could be that the last day didn't include the full Bulls First Team as was originally advertised.  However, parents and children were apologised to for this mix up, and were assured that during the next Camp, this would be "made up to them".
Although there were a few disappointed faces, the staff at The Bulls made sure that there were some players on hand to speak to the children, and again they were very willing to pose for photographs and give autographs.
In all fairness, the situation was handled well and I don't think it deterred too much from the fantastic time the children had overall.

It was announced that details of a similar event during the October holidays were to soon to be release on The Bulls website, and I for one know a little boy who will be more than eager to sign up after the brilliant time he had over the summer holidays.

A really fantastic, well-organised event.

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