What are you looking for in a soccer camp? How do you know which one is right for your daughter?
Listed below are questions that we think every parent should ask of an overnight soccer camp where they are considering sending their daughter. Please contact us and we will be happy to answer any and all of these questions. Or review our Frequently Asked Questions which addresses each question as well.
The Soccer Program
What type of training do the girls receive? What is the ratio of campers to coaches?
We pride ourselves in the Berky athletes balance the intensity of soccer training with the enjoyment and opportunity of optional activities. During elective periods, girls explore, spend time with friends, and most importantly, relax and have FUN! Intentional evening programs, everything from dinner menu on the first night, to campfire games on the last night of camp.
Do you ask campers whether their soccer improved after they attended your camp? If so, what do they say?
Yes, we have both camper and parent surveys at the end of each session. We review these surveys and truly take into account all answers and comments. We value feedback use it to continually improve the Academy.
How are the girls supervised when they are not on the soccer field?
During the day, the girls are engaged in soccer and elective activities where coaches where specialists are always present providing instruction and guidance. During free times and in the evenings, cabin counselors are always supervising, supporting and caring for each camper.
Where do the campers sleep?
Berkshire athletes live in newly-renovated, pine-paneled cabins. A typical cabin houses 8-12 girls and 2-3 cabin counselors. All cabins are clustered together in centrally located areas around camp. Every cabin has its own private bathroom, with showers, sinks and toilets. All cabins have electricity, screened windows, fans, comfortable beds and individual storage areas.
How are they supervised at night?
Each cabin typically houses one Assistant Soccer Coach and one Elective Staff member, so each cabin of 8-12 girls has the opportunity to build relationships with both leaders. Cabin Counselors work together to provide supervision and support to their campers. They are important mentors and positive role models, promoting friendships and fun, especially during cabin-times and meal-times. They also ensure campers keep the cabins organized during daily Cabin Clean-up.
Our Residential Life Team oversees all aspects of cabin-life, training and managing the Cabin Counselors to ensure that Berkshire athletes get the most out of their Academy experience. A significant portion of staff orientation is dedicated to preparing our Cabin Counselors for their role in the cabin.
Cabin Counselors sleep in bunk beds alongside the campers. They enjoy the same Cabin Life amenities as the campers, including: comfortable mattresses, a private bathroom in each cabin, electricity, screened windows, and storage units.
What do the campers do at night?
Academy athletes balance the intensity of soccer training with the enjoyment and opportunity of traditional camp activities. The intention of each evening activity is for the girls to explore, feel comfortable at camp, spend time with friends, and most importantly, relax and have FUN! Evening activities may include an All-Staff Welcome Show, a Soccer Tournament, and Campfire.
How many girls attend the camp? Do boys also attend?
The Academy can comfortably accommodate 130 girls. We have created an intentional program for young women athletes to thrive. At the Academy, we focus on developing our girls into “whole players” who are technically sound, tactically savvy, and mentally ready is what we do best on the field. We provide a nurturing environment where fun and friendships can grow.
How much time do the directors devote to the camp? Is it a full-time pursuit or do they simply spend a few weeks a year on it?
Directors Liza & Eric Wittenberg work full-time year-round as the directors of the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls. Along side Eric and Liza, Program Directors Amy and Liz work full-time, year-round, to support the Academy. With over 30 years of combined camp experience and extensive backgrounds in education, competitive soccer, and sport psychology, the Directors embody the mission and values of the Academy, creating a safe, inclusive environment for each girl to develop as a player, make friends, and have fun.
Are there additional staff, beyond the soccer coaches?
In addition to the Soccer Staff, the Academy also has an excellent team of Elective Staff who lead activities off the soccer field. From the waterfront to the hiking trails, each member of our Elective Staff possesses an expertise and passion in their activity. Following the American Camp Association standards, we require that certain elective staff have required licensing as well as American Red Cross certifications.
How are staff who are not coaches chosen?
Every staff member is carefully selected to reflect the Academy’s mission and values. We interview each candidate and only hire those with excellent references, impressive experience working with children, and a willingness to dedicate themselves to caring for and supervising our athletes.
Do staff members receive any training prior to the start of camp?
Before camp begins, we require a comprehensive staff training that covers all aspects of youth development and group cohesion. The training, which is developed with the assistance of child development and camp industry experts, prepares our staff to maximize every moment and to instill our girls with work ethic, respect, sportsmanship and to teach them how to live and play the “Berkshire Way”.
Who are the soccer coaches?
Our dedicated Soccer Staff consists of 6 Master Coaches, 3-4 Head Coaches, and 12-16 Assistant Coaches, and comes to the Academy from across the nation to coach in our unique environment.
How are the soccer coaches selected? What licenses or certification do they possess?
Every soccer coach is carefully selected to reflect the Academy’s mission and values. We interview each candidate and only hire those with excellent references, impressive experience working with children, and a willingness to dedicate themselves to caring for and supervising our athletes.
Our Master and Head Coaches are licensed professionals who have dedicated their careers to youth soccer instruction. Our Assistant Coaches are former and current NCAA soccer players who are pursuing a career in coaching, teaching, sports psychology or sport administration. Every coach is committed to teaching and serving as a role model to our athletes.
Do the soccer coaches receive any training or orientation prior to the start of camp?
Yes, Before the Berkshire Soccer Academy begins, we require a comprehensive 6-day staff training that covers all aspects of youth development and group cohesion.
The training, which is developed with the assistance of child development and camp industry experts, prepares our entire staff, including each Soccer coach, to maximize every moment and to instill our girls with work ethic, respect, sportsmanship and to teach them how to live and play the “Berkshire Way”.
What if it’s very hot outside?
We keep a close watch on the weather every day. Schedule changes may occur if the Academy’s leadership team decides it is too hot to train. With so many activities and venues at our fingertips, these modifications are easy to make. For instance, a technical session on the field may be moved to the evening when it’s cooler, and replaced with a mental skills training session indoors; or an all-camp swim in the lake! A mister with eight spray nozzles is situated adjacent to our fields and provides quick cooling after a heavy workout.
What happens if it rains?
Soccer sessions and most other activities carry on in the rain. However, when there is visible lightening, extremely heavy rain, or strong winds, we implement a “Rainy-Day Schedule”. The training, games, and fun continue indoors until the weather improves. In the event of an extended heavy rain or lightening, we can make arrangements to transport groups to a nearby, indoor turf facility with which we have short-term rental arrangements in place.
What happens if my daughter gets sick or injured?
Our qualified team of health-care professionals work together to respond quickly and professionally to any injuries or illnesses that occur at the Academy. Our nurses can care for campers in our new and fully-stocked Health Center. A comfortable “quarantine room” in the Health Center allows a place for campers to relax if they are feeling under the weather. In the event of a serious illness or injury, we have an on-call physician available seven days a week.
Is there a dedicated medical professional on staff?
Our staff of qualified medical professionals includes a Registered Nurse as well as an Assistant Nurse, a certified Athletic Trainer, a visiting Physical Therapist, and an on-call Physician.
Before each session, our Head Nurse reviews every athlete’s health history and medication needs. We store all personal medication in our Health Center, allowing our nurses to properly distribute it to both athletes and staff at meal-times or bedtime.
Our full-time certified Athletic Trainer is on the field during every soccer session and provides pre and post training treatments in the Training Room, located in the Pavilion at the center of the soccer fields. There, athletes can get taped or have injuries iced.
Our nurses and athletic trainer live on-site and are available 24-hours a day.
Is there a health center where my child can receive care and recover?
Our Health Center is fully-equipped with medical instruments and supplies, a small kitchen, and an ADA bathroom. Our Head Nurse’s sleeping quarters are inside the Health Center, so sick campers can spend the night in our Quarantine Room, reducing the risk of spreading an illness or condition to others.
Is the camp licensed by the state’s Department of Health?
Yes, we are licensed through the State of Massachusetts.
How many campers return each year?
About half of our campers return for another year at the Academy. Throughout the summer of 2014, at any given session, about 50% of campers were there for their second or third year at camp. We are grateful for our strong Berky community, and value the balance of returning campers and new campers each session at the Academy.
Is the camp accredited by any organization such as the American Camp Association?
Yes, we are accredited by the American Camp Association, and often surpass standards for accreditation. For example, the ACA standard for counselor-to-camper ratio is one staff member for every eight campers ages 9 to 14, however our ratio is one staff member for every four campers.