PHS volleyball: Joelle Berger

Philomath High's Joelle Berger, right, goes for a kill in a match from last season. Berger has taken on as a senior project the organization of an annual youth volleyball camp.

Back in middle school, Joelle Berger experimented with a few other sports such as basketball and softball. But by the time high school rolled around, she decided to focus all of her energy on volleyball.

“I’ve played a lot of different sports and it’s the emotional part of it for me,” Berger said, referencing the feeling a player gets on a big play at the net, for example. “It wasn’t like that in other sports for me.”

Four years later for her Philomath High senior project, Berger is hoping to instill the same of enthusiasm in a younger crop of volleyball players coming up. She’s organizing The Future Warrior Volleyball Camp, scheduled for Aug. 5-8 in the high school gym.

“It was someone’s senior project a few years ago and I really liked the idea of doing that and helping organize it,” Berger said when asked how she came up with the idea. “And I thought, I’m going to be in the gym a lot this summer with the high-schoolers having clinics and tryouts and I thought it would just be fun to help the little kids learning how to play.”

The camp emphasizes the team approach to the sport and includes direct coaching from Philomath High’s top players with the support of coaches.

“I’ll be explaining the drills and stuff and the coaches will be there helping, too,” she said. “But the high school players will kinda be the coaches for this camp.”

Each day of the camp, Berger said participants will learn two main skills and then have an opportunity to implement those skills in live matches.

The youth camp for children in grades 2-6 will run each of those four days from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and an advanced clinic for players in grades 7-12 will follow from 3-5 p.m.

The cost for the younger group is $45 per player or $70 for families of two or more children. They are asked to bring a water bottle, knee pads, athletic clothing, lunch and a snack. Those who preregister for the Future Warrior Camp can receive a $10 discount.

The advanced clinics will run $10 per session or all four sessions for $30.

The Philomath High volleyball program has seen an exceptional level of success in recent years. This past season, the Warriors qualified for the state playoffs for the fourth straight season.

Berger believes the team will keep on rolling.

“We had a team camp early last month and it was really long days in the gym, so we got to spend lots of time together as a team and working on skills,” Berger said. “It was really fun and I’m really excited for this season.”

The Warriors finished 19-10 overall and won a play-in match to make into the state playoffs, a competitive run in a tough Oregon West Conference.

“I’ll be hitting this year and I might be doing some other things,” Berger said. “We’re just kind of experimenting.”

Berger said she’s back to 100 percent after working through an injury and taking a break from club volleyball.

“I usually play for NPJ (North Pacific Juniors) but I took the season off to let my shoulder heal up,” Berger said. “I had to do lots of physical therapy.”

Berger spoke with excitement about the upcoming camp and believes she has the organizational skills to pull it off.

“I think I’m pretty organized as a person in general,” she said. “It’s taken a bit of time just to make the plans and find things that would keep the kids interested. I think it’ll be super fun. We’ll have lots of games and prizes.”

Registration forms for the camp and clinics are available online at the school’s website (for a direct link, go to: bit.ly/PHS-vb-camp-register). Those with plans to attend can print out the form and bring it and pay on the camp’s first day. Forms will also be available on site.

To preregister and receive the Future Warrior Camp discount, email Berger at joelleberger@gmail.com or contact PHS coach Denee Newton at denee.newton@philomath.k12.or.us or 541-521-2640 (text or call).

The high school is also hosting other youth camps in August:

• Soccer: Aug. 5-8, boys and girls K-8, and girls 9-12, registration forms at bit.ly/PHS-soc-camp-register.

• Football: Aug. 12-15, grades 3-8 and 9-12, registration forms at bit.ly/PHS-fb-camp-register.

• Cheer and dance: Aug. 12-15: For information, check the school’s website and go the athletics page and scroll down for “Youth Camps.”

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