By Jim Whelan
This is the time every parent has that moment “What am I going to do with my kids this summer?”
Most parents examine the summer calendar like a salty sea boat captain charting a navigational course. As parents, we want our kids get involved with some fun activities and veer them away from the draws of computer games and the TV.
Fortunately, today American kids have more of a variety of sports and activities than ever before. The problem is finding activities that don’t break the family bank account. Summer camps have been a staple in American life. With the wide array of camps, it’s hard for a parent to choose.
If gymnastics is your thing, there is gymnastics camp; if you like baseball, baseball camp. If you play an instrument, there is band camp.
Traditionally, basketball camp has been the mainstay during the summer months. For the casual or the intense basketball player, there are an array of camps from recreation to sleep away. There are skills camps, coach’s camps, guard camps, big man camps, you get the picture.
It definitely has become a cottage industry.
St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth head basketball coach Kevin Boyle has been running the Kevin Boyle basketball camps for close to two decades. His camps feature some great coaching and also some of the biggest stars in the game like New York Knicks’ Al Harrington and Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony.
Kevin Boyle has run local basketball camps in his native Union County. With the success of St. Pat’s basketball, the Kevin Boyle Brand is in demand and the camps are expanding all around the state. This year, he is running a camp out in Flemington.
But what basketball game would not be complete without the echoes of cheerleaders in the gym?
That is why Kevin Boyle and his wife Kelly are expanding the Boyle brand of camps with a week-long Grand Champions cheerleading camp. The camp was the idea of Grand Champions director Kelly Boyle.
“I wanted to create a fun environment for girls interested in cheerleading,” Kelly said.
Cheerleading has been a part of Kelly’s life since she started cheering at Pop Warner games and moved up to Bishop Ahr High School in Edison. Boyle returned to her high school as a coach. Bishop Ahr has gained a reputation for their cheerleading program similar to St. Patrick’s reputation for basketball.
The last two years, Grand Champions conducted weekend camps. This year, the Boyles are expanding to a week-long format.
“Eventually we would like to run our camps alongside of the basketball camps,” said Kelly.
For parents that run there on taxi service, this would be a great idea. Multiple kids, one drop off.
Why Grand Champions cheer camp? “It is a low cost activity,” said Kelly. “It also builds confidence and physical stamina for young girls.”
Grand champions camps are geared towards girls from four to 13 years of age and at any skill level. “There are no tryouts or cuts, and everybody makes the team,” said Kelly. “You can come in with experience or never cheered before.”
Last year, Grand Champions cheerleaders performed at two of the biggest high school venues in New Jersey. They put on a show at Sovereign Bank Arena during last year’s Prime Time Shootout in Trenton and at halftime during the St. Pat’s–St Benedict’s game at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway.
“It was a lot fun for the kids and they also get use to performing in front of crowds,” Kelly said of the Grand Champion experience.
The Boyle eldest child, Kelsie, like her mom, also cheered for Bishop Ahr in high school and is now cheerleading at Villanova University. This year Kelsie will be part of the family business as the co-director of the camp this summer. Other cheerleading instructors are members of Rutgers and DePaul cheerleading teams.
“If they like cheerleading, there can be a future for them,” replied Kelly.
This year Grand Champions Camp will be held from July 20-24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (with an early free drop off at 8 a.m.) at Kumpf Middle School, 59 Mildred Terrace, Clark. For more information on the Boyle camps, check out www.grandchampionscamp.com and www.kbbc.com.
Jim Whelan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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