STAMFORD -- Westhill High School served as the summer playground for students ages 4-13 attending the Peak Performance Sports Camps for the week. Campers were given the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sports such as basketball, baseball, flag football, floor hockey and a variety of tag games. The campers had access to virtually all of Westhill's athletic facilities, including the football field, the outdoor track and the gymnasium.
According to Ryan Smart, one of the longest-tenured members of the Peak Performance Sports Camp, the primary goal is to make sure kids are staying active and not spending the majority of their days parked in front of the television.
"We want to get them moving around outside the house away from the video games, and also we want to get them prepared for the school year and get them some social interaction with other kids, especially 4 and 5-year-olds," said Smart, who is in his eighth year with the program. "You get them used to the long day where they're away from their parents. They learn basic rules that you have to follow not just for school, but for life. For the older kids, you want to get them moving and get them active."
The week-long camp is the final installment in a series of summer minicamps run by Peak Performance. Previous Peak Performance camps ran for three weeks and focused on only one sport (basketball, baseball or flag football), but this one-week camp encompasses a variety of sports and games, which was appealing to several campers who decided to participate.
"My brother tried the camp and said it was a lot of fun so I decided to come and try it," said Mark Curcio, a 12-year-old camper from Stamford. "It's the best camp I've ever been to. You do everything. Every sport. You meet new kids and have fun."
"I was just looking for something to do this summer," said Pete Sorbo, a 13-year-old camper from Stamford. "I've met a ton of new friends. It's so much fun. You just do everything here."
The game "flag tag" proved especially popular amongst campers.
"It's pretty fun; I like it," said Jack Palmer, a 10-year-old camper from Stamford. "I wasn't really doing anything this summer and my mom said `how about you go to camp,' and I'm having a great time. Flag tag is really fun."
"Flag tag by far is the best," Curcio said.
While there's certainly no shortage of summer camps in Fairfield County, Peak Performance Camps have been a model of longevity, as they are now in their 15th year after being founded by Mark Carmody, an elementary physical education teacher in Westport.
Vinny Vodola, a junior to be at AIT in Stamford, attended a wide range of Peak Performance camps as a youngster, and he now works there as a counselor, where he says he enjoys instructing young athletes.
"I've been here since I was like 4 years old, so I've played a lot of sports. Camp was really good when I was a kid," Vodola said. "It's probably more fun now that I'm a counselor because I can teach these kids how to play. There's a lot more kids now and there's more space."
Although this particular camp was predominantly made up of Stamford students, Peak Performance has seen participation from New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield and more over the summer.
The full day camp runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (there are also half day options from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m.), and down time is few and far between.
"We offer a lot of different options. There are sport-specific camps for basketball, baseball and flag football. They're active for probably 90 percent of the day. They're always moving around," Smart said. "It's definitely growing. There are a lot of kids returning that have come before which is good."