Voices, a Podcast from the Seneca Valley School District

Episode 59 - School’s Out, Camp’s In with Mr. Nii Sowa- Doku

May 26, 2022 Seneca Valley School District Season 2 Episode 59
Voices, a Podcast from the Seneca Valley School District
Episode 59 - School’s Out, Camp’s In with Mr. Nii Sowa- Doku
Show Notes Transcript

School’s Out, Camp’s In with Mr. Nii Sowa- Doku 

Mr. Nii Sowa-Dokui, Seneca Valley Activities/Athletics Assistant Director

Nii Sowa-Doku is in his first year working at Seneca Valley. He has a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from the University of Kansas and a Masters in Professional Studies in Sport Industry Management from Georgetown University. He currently serves as the Assistant Athletic Director for Seneca Valley School District.


  • Some of the athletic camps that are available
  • What youth camps are being added and where they can be found
  • The benefits to summer youth camps for students preparing for organized sports at the secondary level
  • The importance of having fun at these camps


 Voices E59 Nii Sowa-Doku

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)


00:00:02:26 - 00:00:04:03

Introduction: Welcome to Voices. 


00:00:04:10 - 00:00:10:05

Introduction: A national award-winning podcast brought to you by the Seneca Valley School District. 


00:00:11:08 - 00:00:18:29

Jeff Krakoff: This is Jeff Krakoff. Today we're talking with Nii Sowa-Doku, assistant athletic director at Seneca Valley. Thanks for joining us today. 


00:00:19:27 - 00:00:20:26

Nii Sowa-Doku: Thanks for having me, Jeff. 


00:00:21:03 - 00:00:40:07

Jeff Krakoff: So as we're starting to get near the end of the school year, parents and students alike are starting to think about what kinds of things are they going to get involved in throughout the summer? Please share kind of when things start up and what kinds of activities are available as far as athletic camps for youth in the district? 


00:00:40:26 - 00:01:15:05

Nii Sowa-Doku: Yeah, we have a variety of sports camps available throughout this whole summer and I'll go through the list quickly here. So we have a baseball camp from June 20-23. For ages seven through 14, we have boys basketball camp on June 20-23 as well. And we have girls basketball camp June 13-16 for grades K-8. We have boys soccer camp, June 27-30 for grades 3-10. And, volleyball boys and girls combined together camp in June 6-9 for grades 4-6. 


00:01:16:00 - 00:01:31:25

Nii Sowa-Doku: And then we have a girls volleyball camp itself just for girls on June 6-9 and August 2-4 for grades through 7-9. And then we also have football camp in July for grades 2-8, on July 13-14. 


00:01:32:05 - 00:01:48:18

Jeff Krakoff: Okay. Well, that's a lot. Don't worry, listeners. We're going to tell you where you can go to to get all of those dates and details at the end of this. So in your opinion, what are the camps all about? What are the purposes? What are we trying to do for kids in the district? 


00:01:49:04 - 00:02:19:11

Nii Sowa-Doku: Yeah. With these camps, you have a variety of goals. One of those goals is to keep them physically active throughout the summer and mentally stimulated. We all know about that summer drain when kids are out of school and they don't really have much to do. So going to these camps will keep them active and again stimulated and able to kind of continue what they've built throughout the school year. Also allows them to socialize and learn leadership and service skills that they can apply on and off the field and kind of continue the friendships they've made in school, outside of school as well. 


00:02:20:14 - 00:02:52:20

Nii Sowa-Doku: They'll also have the opportunity to learn how some of our secondary level teams train and prepare. A lot of these camps are run by our varsity level coaches, so it gives them an idea of what they'll need to do in the future to play on these teams if they want to. Many of our current varsity athletes, such as volleyball athletes or swim/dive athletes who just won the PIAA. They've gone through some of these camps as well. So you can see there's definitely a pipeline there from elementary level camps to all the way to our varsity teams that are winning state championships. 


00:02:53:15 - 00:03:06:27

Nii Sowa-Doku: But let's not forget, the main goal here is for them to have fun. Right. That's why everyone wants to do so. Yeah. These these camps provide all these these goals, and hopefully your son or daughter can come to them and experience all these as well. 


00:03:07:12 - 00:03:30:05

Jeff Krakoff: Right. So lots of benefits you mentioned, most importantly, having fun, but it's a chance to reach that meet the secondary level coaches, get an idea of what kinds of training and expectations there are. For you Nii, what kind of mindset should a student have coming into these camps? You know, it's not all about, okay, I'm prepping for the next level. 


00:03:31:25 - 00:03:44:15

Jeff Krakoff: You know, maybe they have goals of being professional athletes, collegiate athletes. But, you know, you mentioned having fun is so important. You know what what kind of mindset should parents and kids have as they come into these camps? 


00:03:44:28 - 00:04:15:04

Nii Sowa-Doku: Yeah, they should definitely be open minded to kind of get new experiences and learn new things, learn new skills. Maybe it's trying out a new position. Maybe you played center in elementary school or whatever, but now try a guard skills, you know, those sort of things. Just being open minded and being open to trying new sports out too, maybe you've been a swimmer but want to try volleyball out or you want to try basketball out in a lot of these camps aren't, there's no skill level, right? We're taking anyone who wants to come. 


00:04:15:07 - 00:04:26:15

Nii Sowa-Doku: So it could be like, I've never touched a basketball my life or I've touched a basketball since I was a year old. Right. It's just again in environments to have fun, to learn, to grow and improve on yourself. 


00:04:27:12 - 00:04:51:12

Jeff Krakoff: So how does that work? You know, you bring up a good point. You may have extremely accomplished youth athletes and people. They're just doing it to have fun or picking up a sport for the first time. Are most camps intermingling various skill levels, or are they sort of splitting up saying, here are the more experienced players here are, here are maybe novices in a particular sport? How does that typically work? 


00:04:51:22 - 00:05:20:18

Nii Sowa-Doku: It's a mixture of both. There's certain activities where you may be split up by skill level and others where it's combined, let's say. You're doing a soccer scrimmage, right? The combine. So again, those novices can learn from those people who have the higher level skills and learn from them and be able to develop get better. Because what better way than getting better than learning from people who are maybe a little bit more advanced and willing to teach you so you can get to their level? 


00:05:21:08 - 00:05:33:01

Jeff Krakoff: Okay. And one last question. Who's involved in running the camps? You mentioned coaches. I'm sure there's assistant coaches, high school players and athletes. What's that all about? 


00:05:33:03 - 00:05:45:14

Nii Sowa-Doku: So a lot of this is run by our varsity level coaches, as I mentioned, as well as their athletes. So again, you'll be getting firsthand experience from those varsity coaches as well as those players that have been coached by them for several years. 


00:05:46:09 - 00:05:59:00

Jeff Krakoff: It's an interesting for you as somebody in the athletic department to see kids that are now playing varsity sports and are interacting with camps that they very well may have participated in when they were younger. 


00:05:59:20 - 00:06:36:14

Nii Sowa-Doku: Yes, it's a very cool experience. Kind of full circle. I'll tell a little story for the volleyball boys. They had their senior day earlier this this month and in their booklet had pictures of them when they were younger, when they were participating in those camps. And then obviously, you know, 12 years later, them as older kids graduating, seniors going on to college. So again, seeing that full circle process where it all began as little kids who could probably barely bump or spike a ball to now, you know, on the cusp of winning a WPIAL championship, it's pretty cool to see. 


00:06:37:08 - 00:07:06:17

Jeff Krakoff: That's awesome. So there's something for everybody, whether you're serious about preparing for high school sports or you just want to learn some new skills, try some things out, or again, most importantly, just have fun. Can you tell parents and students, I know you're adding camps all the time. I don't think we're 100% set yet. Where can they go to see that lengthy list of camps and schedules so that people can register and sign up? 


00:07:07:09 - 00:07:54:01

Nii Sowa-Doku: Yeah, there's two ways you can find out where the camps are listed. So the first way is to go to the athletics page on the www.Svsd.Net Website. So once you get there, go to athletics, hover over the inside athletics tab and then go down to camps and clinics. And then there's a full list of all the sports and which camps they have available throughout the summer, as well as contact information for coaches or the booster clubs that help run these events. You can also find these camps on the www.Svsd.Net/Backpack Fliers, that website, and you can find that again by going to www.Svsd.Net, going to our district and hovering over that tab and then go to backpack flyers and then click on a tab that says recreation and activities. 


00:07:54:10 - 00:08:19:29

Nii Sowa-Doku: And again, that will have flyers and a full list of the sports activities, as well as other activities that are non-sports related as well. If you're looking for something outside of sports and make sure to register early as some of these camps do have registration deadlines or caps as to how many kids they can take or things that they need to order in order for these camps to happen. Make sure you just check on the websites, just check on those registration dates, or even contact those coaches if you need more information. 


00:08:20:10 - 00:08:40:19

Jeff Krakoff: Okay, it's a good tip. Get out there and register sooner rather than later to make sure there's still availability. Thanks so much for all the great information. Again, this was Assistant Athletic Director Nii Sowa-Doku. Have a great summer and I hope all the parents and kids that get involved in these camps have a great summer too. 


00:08:41:04 - 00:08:43:14

Nii Sowa-Doku: Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing them out there on those fields. 


00:08:44:20 - 00:08:46:24

Jeff Krakoff: All right. Thanks again for joining us.