The end of the season saw an influx of not only new players at The Dragons but also hundreds of rugby mad youngsters who descended on Rodney Parade for the summer camps.
As with last summer and throughout the Easter holidays the camps have been an absolute roaring success. The 200+ kids aged between 8 and 14 years were treated to life as a professional rugby player and put through their paces during the three-day intensive training camps. They enjoyed first class coaching from the newly promoted Newport Backs Coach and Head of the Community Projects Mike Sage and the ever-popular community officer, Janice Chappell.
Mike, commenting on the success again this year commented, "Our aim is to make their (the kids) time at Rodney Parade a memorable one. We want the players to enjoy themselves but also to develop their agility, handling, decision-making and contact skills while also gaining new experiences and techniques building on their enthusiasm and keenness. A major plus has been the enhanced confidence and knowledge gained by all participants who have improved beyond all our expectations."
All the youngsters were treated to a champagne moment which came in the form of rubbing shoulders with The Dragons players, asking them advice on becoming a top rugby player and seeking their autographs. One lucky camp received an added bonus when Nic Fitisemanu taught them the Haka, what a moment to remember – more so what a phenomenal sight, 50 kids performing the Haka as if they were getting ready to represent New Zealand.
As The Dragons left for Cornwall they were sent packing by the army of kids performing the Haka for the last time with great enthusiasm.
The summer holiday camps have quickly come to full time with all the kids thoroughly enjoying their experience. Each player left Rodney Parade with raised self esteem and armed with their course certificate, complimentary ticket to watch their new friends play and a summer camp t-shirt.
The camps attracted youngsters from all corners of the region thus highlighting the positive response to The Dragons regional community activities. The aspiring players came from Pontypool, Newport, Monmouth, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Abergavenny, Chepstow, Usk, Brynmawr and as far as Hereford.
But most important of all, the buzz around Rodney Parade was inspiring as you could hear the kids telling their parents, 'It's been wicked,' 'I've had a great time,' 'We done the Haka,' 'We met all The Dragons,' 'I've improved my skills" and of course "Can I go next time again, pleeeeease."
If you want to get on board and enjoy The Dragons camp in the future please refer to www.newportgwentdragons for further information or contact Mike Sage on 01633 674954.