Detroit PAL lacrosse camp a growing success
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
One of the most popular sports on the east coast has come to Detroit thanks to Detroit PAL and the University of Detroit Mercy. The sport of lacrosse is making its way into the Motor City through the Detroit PAL/University of Detroit Mercy Youth lacrosse camp, which was held July 29-31 on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy. This year, 20 youths (17 boys, three girls), between the ages of nine and 13 (grades 4 through 8), participated in the camp.
“This was my first season running the camp,” said Jon Missant, the commissioner of lacrosse at Detroit PAL. “The kids loved the sport, and the general mood at the end of the camp was ‘Can it be a bit longer next year?’”
The instructors at the camp were collegiate lacrosse players themselves: Kathy Barnes from Michigan State, Amanda Schimpke from Lindenwood College in Missouri, and Ben Gjokay and Lucas Duchane from the University of Detroit Mercy.
The camp was conducted as a typical sports camp. Fundamental skills were run during the first part of every day, which was followed by a snack break. During the second half of each day, the youth played mini-games and scrimmaged each other. The players learned fundamental skills, rules of the sport and fun of the game. The game of lacrosse is similar to two other popular sports: soccer and hockey.
Each youth paid a registration fee of $25 to participate and received a free lacrosse stick and T-shirt. The equipment used during the camp was donated by Warrior, a manufacturer of lacrosse sports equipment.
Missant said he was pleased with the interest from some of youth’s parents who also attended the camp to observe their children.
“The parents really enjoyed seeing their children participate in a sport that is underutilized in the city,” he said. “Some of the parents came out and participated in some of the drills and games.”
The experience was new to most of the youth, Missant said. “But they were all talking about where else can they play the game.
“The interest in the city is low, but many don’t know what the sport is, and many kids don’t have the opportunity to play. The problem isn’t interest because the kids love to play any team sport. The issue lies with opportunity.”
Not many schools/leagues offer lacrosse as a sport in the city. Missant concluded that he is optimistic about the future of lacrosse in the city.