Briercrest's history with excellence in education runs deep; but so does their history with excellence in athletics.
Briercrest has a very successful collegiate sports program and they are looking to share that success with elementary and high school athletes from the prairies. The Briercrest Sports Camps have been running since 1978 and begin their 36th summer of sports training this August for students in grade five to twelve.
Men's Basketball Coach Rod Adrian thinks that the tradition that Briercrest Sports Camps holds adds to the quality of the camps themselves.
"There's a lot of programs that do offer camps, most of them are day camps and most of them are run by current players," explained Adrian, "we're not that much different in that we have current players running [parts of] our camps. I think what separates us is how long we've been running it for and the direct involvement that our head coaches have in the instruction pieces of the camp."
The fact that young athletes can attend Briercrest Sports Camps and get skill-specific training from college players and coaches validates the fact that there are nearly 250 athletes currently signed up for the camps between the two sports, basketball and volleyball.
"We have [our Briercrest athletes] lead instructional periods through skill development" shared Adrian, "they also actually take on a team during camp; we divide the campers into teams so that they can have a one-on-one experience with a coach who is a current player, or alumni...[the athletes] play games based on what they've learned...during the game times at night."
"I think it's important to understand that we have college level athletes who are also willing to serve their community," said Briercrest Women's Basketball Coach Will Con. "Sometimes you get an athlete who wants to be selfish...our coaches show that you can be a high level athlete while making an impact on youth in your community."
If you think that basketball or volleyball are the only things that the Briercrest Sports Camps focus on, you'd be far from correct.
"One of the things that separates us too that is beneficial to [the kids] not only in basketball but in life is that we do leadership training all throughout the week," said Adrian. "We actually set aside an hour a day to communicate leadership concepts with the campers. I look at that as, probably, just as beneficial as learning how to dribble or rebound because they are going to be able to apply that to not just sport, but everything they do in life."
Coach Will Con knows a thing or two about leadership, himself; he is currently completing a Masters in Leadership and Management from the Briercrest Seminary.
"The leadership idea [of the camps] is this," explained Con, "how do you go about every day of your life living to make the life of your friend easier? These are very quick, short lessons on looking yourself in the mirror and saying 'I'm going to make a difference today' and stepping up to the plate and making it happen."
As full as these camps may feel, there is still one important aspect that the Briercrest Sports Camps bring that the staff see more important than all others.
"We run [the camp] a lot like a Bible camp," said Adrian, "we have evening guest speakers, we have an evangelistic message that is presented. About 60% of the kids who come are not churched, so, its a real big outreach opportunity for us...that's one of the primary goals of the camp."
If that is the primary goal of the camps, it seems to be working.
"The last couple of years we've had, on average, five kids who have come to know The Lord so that, to me, is what really thrills me about our camp - the opportunity that we have to share the Gospel."
Briercrest Volleyball Camp runs from August 3rd to 8th and is for both boys and girls in grades 5 to 12.
Briercrest Girls Basketball Camp runs from August 10th to 16th.
Briercrst Boys Basketball Camp runs from August 17th to 23rd.
More information can be found at www.briercrest.ca/athletics