Summer camps in full swing

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Malibu Coach Bruce Young (far right) and the Sharks’ Gabriel Rapoport (far left) join boys and girls at the City of Malibu tennis camp last summer.

It’s been a busy summer in Malibu for the kids. Throughout the summer the City of Malibu hosts more than 20 different types of youth camps either at Malibu High School or nearby. Tennis and basketball were on display last week as a group of kids took to the tennis courts and gymnasium to learn the rudiments of each sport.

About 15 kids practiced fundamentals under the tutelage of Malibu High School tennis coach Bruce Young and junior Shark standout Gabriel Rapoport.

“It’s wonderful to see the progression of these children whether they are four years old or 13 years old,” Young said. “It’s a game of practice and they do get better. It’s a process. Tennis is a fun game and everyone here is enjoying playing.”

Young has been conducting camps since he became coach of the MHS boys and girls programs 10 years ago. Joining him last week was his prize pupil, who is a former camper himself.

“When I was a kid, I remembered being in this position and looking up to the older kids thinking that one day I wanted to be there,” said Rapoport, the 2012 Tri-Valley League singles tennis champion. “So it’s great now to be that big kid for these kids here.”

Like Rapoport, nine-year-old Davis Kerbeck grew up playing tennis at a young age with his father. While an injury derailed his dad, Kerbeck is going ahead full speed.

“I’ve been to the camp several times,” Kerbeck said. “I like practicing tennis because my dad used to always do tennis with me but then he tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his knee so I can’t do it anymore with him. I learned about serving because I have a terrible serve. My serve got better.”

Young and Rapoport taught the campers how to serve and how to return a ball by utilizing a backhand or forehand stroke.

“I thought it was very fun to learn new things about tennis,” said nine-year-old Sabrina Dion. “I learned about forehands and backhands. I like the camp.”

Dion even shared a comment that would have raised the eyebrows of her fellow male campers.

“It is a fact that girls are better than boys at backhands,” she said.

Summer camps are great for learning the fundamentals of a particular sport but also for developing new friendships.

“It was my first time playing tennis. It was really fun,” Ava Bradley, nine, said. “I’m going to miss a lot of my friends that I have made over this week.”

Over in the MHS gym, several eager boys and girls learned basketball fundamentals such as shooting, dribbling and passing under the watchful eye of MHS girls basketball coach Andy Meyer.

“It was really good,” said six-year-old Joshua Brand. “I learned how to take one step and pass (off the dribble). We got to shoot and play a lot of basketball.”

For seven-year-old Asher Katz, it was the games that the campers played which caught his attention.

“I like the games we played,” Katz said. “‘Steal the Bacon’ was fun and I was champion of ‘Around the World.’ I loved the camp this week and last year was really good too.”

“I enjoy teaching kids at this level to get them enthusiastic about the game, learn to love the game and learn some fundamentals of the game,” said Meyer. “There was no pressure or stress. They had a good time.”

The City of Malibu is offering an array of recreation services designed to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Malibu. Camp activities include laser tag, music, fencing, surfing, cheerleading and traditional sports like basketball, tennis, baseball and flag football.

For youths interested in technology and engineering, the City offers camps in video game design, action filmmaking, clay animation and Legos construction. The wide variety of camps aim to ensure all children have the opportunity to pursue their current interests or try something new.

“Summer camps are beneficial to young boys and girls because they serve as an outlet for youth to stay active during the summer months,” said Katie Gallo, summer camps coordinator. “The summer camps are also a way for young boys and girls to try new activities. They provide an option for continued learning of a sport or enrichment activity with the goal of positive socialization.”

For more information or to register online, visit www.malibucity.org