The Kathy Demarko Summer Youth Bowling Camp and Junior Pro-Am took place last week with 21 campers enjoying a summer camp unlike any other in the area.
“We had fun. We thought this was one of the best groups of kids we’ve had,” Demarko said. “Most of the kids that we worked with were from middle school and they had a blast.”
The four-day camp culminated on Friday, June 29 with a pro-am in which the campers bowled with a number of professionals that came in for the annual event.
Prior to the festivities Friday night, Demarko and her crack staff of local coaches took to the lanes and parking lots to help the campers better understand the sport.
With a smaller number of attendees than usual – the camp usually draws closer to 50 participants – Demarko said that each camper was privy to more one-on-one coaching, which she thinks is better for the kids.
Along with Demarko, there were 14 coaches from around the area that allowed each camper to get pointers from different sets of eyes.
“I felt like we got more done, more information was passed along than normal,” she said.
Each camper would leave the camp with a bowling pin, a shirt and a scouting report designed specifically for the individual. The report had notes compiled by the coaches on the camper’s strong points as well as the areas of their games that need to be worked on.
Some of the coaches that helped out were Joe MacFarland, Tony Kellerman, Roger Bussell, Kevin Briggs, Tom Huber, Adam Miz, Paul Hudson, Jake Pesnichak, Nick Pesnichak, Jerry Stroup, Robin Wilson and Kyle Grogan.
As well as getting some instruction to take home with them, the campers received a packet of papers that detailed in-depth instructions about different approaches and types of shots.
Demarko and company would school the campers on different aspects of the game from understanding setup and approaches to reading different amounts of oil on each lane.
The camp also thought outside the box and the lanes, going out into Cherry Grove Lanes’ parking lot to throw footballs to get a grasp on the feeling required to spin a bowling ball.
Campers were also able to go to the pro shop located at the bowling center to see how balls get drilled and learn about the business side of bowling.
The camp concluded with the annual junior pro-am during which around 20 professionals game and bowled with the campers, all wearing their yellow Demarko summer camp shirts.
The pro-am was set up in such a way that the campers would be surrounded by the pros pretty much at all times.
“Everybody starts out on one lane, so there would be one pro on (lanes) one and two and one (pro) on three and four. What they do is they skip four pairs,” Demarko explained. “They bowl the first game on one and two and then they skip over and bowl the next one on (lanes) seven and eight. That’s how you get a good mix. All of them are around you for the three games.”
The pros bounced around the different lanes with the campers and signed autographs for the kids and one pro even requested the signatures of the campers.
“It’s just cool, the kids had a blast,” Demarko said.
Demarko said some kids were not able to make it to her camp because of other camps or commitments that conflicted, but with the smaller numbers, she thought the experience was better for the kids and is contemplating doing multiple camps in the future to accommodate more campers. That wouldn’t begin until next year, if at all, she said.
However, if there were one person willing to put in the time and effort, it would be Demarko. With her passion and guidance, another camp would be to the benefit of anyone who signed up.