This year's edition of the Wayne County Commissioners Camp Attracted Record Numbers
A sea of smiling faces greeted Wendell Kay and Jonathan Fritz as they prepared to impart a few “words of wisdom” Friday morning.
The two Wayne County Commissioners had made it a point to stop by the HHS Athletic Complex Friday for the last day of their annual field hockey camp.
This year's edition of the weeklong clinic attracted a record number of talented young athletes. According to organizer coach Grace Manzione, more than 50 girls participated.
“This is the best turnout we've had in years,” she said. “We're really excited about it. I think the future of field hockey here is looking really bright.”
The two Commissioners were quick to echo that sentiment.
Fritz, himself a product of the Honesdale athletic system, was first to speak.
“I was a football player and I learned a lot about life during all those practices and games,” he said.
“You learn how important hard work and dedication are. You learn about winning and losing. You learn things that you can use the rest of your life.”
Kay is a longtime supporter of Wayne County youth athletics whose children attended HHS and played scholastic sports.
“One of the best things about being part of a team is all the wonderful friends you make,” he said.
“You definitely learn a lot, but you also come away with memories that will last a lifetime.”
Kay also praised these young athletes for their toughness, dedication and hard work.
“Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something because you're a girl,” he said ... a salient point that had heads of both campers and coaches nodding in agreement.
“You can do absolutely anything you put your mind to. Don't ever forget that.”
A Day in the Life
The 2014 Wayne County Commissioners Camp got underway last Monday morning and ran through Friday afternoon.
Manzione organized the clinic and oversaw its day-to-day operation.
This clinic was open to girls from first to ninth grade. Volunteer coaches took great pains to make sure campers had fun, but also walked away with a solid understanding of the sport's fundamentals.
“The number one goal is for the kids to fall in love with field hockey,” Grace said. “We focused on different things each day for each age group.”
Campers arrived at the complex each day between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m.
Following a quick warm-up, the girls were divided into smaller groups for individual instruction.
The highlight of each day came in the final hour when the small groups came back together for “live” game situations and snacks.
“Playing games and eating snacks were definitely favorite parts,” Grace said with a laugh.
“I think they learned a lot, but I think they had a lot of fun, too.”
Honesdale's field hockey program appears to be on an upward arc at this point.
The Lady Hornets have become a perennial title contender in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
In addition, the Red & Black are fixtures in the District Two playoffs, advancing as far as the Class AAA championship game just two years ago.
Success against the likes of Crestwood, Wyoming Seminary, Wilkes Barre Coughlin and Valley West begins at the top and cascades down throughout the entire program.
“Becca Maciejewski is doing a phenomenal job as our varsity coach,” Grace said. “Here at camp, Carly Propst and Nicki Malloy were a huge help and I'm very grateful to them.”