That SportWays feeling
Name: Charlotte van de Vegte
Hockey club: 't Spandersbosch, the Netherlands
Staff since: 2020
Role: trainer & social
A friend of mine introduced me to SportWays. He calls me up on a Sunday evening to ask me if I would like to join a day camp as a staff member. “Tomorrow, 8 AM at HC Naarden”, he tells me. ‘Why not?’, I ask myself. Teaching and playing hockey all day long and meeting new people. I’m in!
After the day camp, I was scrolling through SportWays’ Instagram page when an article about the SportWays Overnight Hockey Camps caught my eye. I read the article and immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of these camps and decided to send an email to SportWays. The next day, my phone rings. It’s SportWays inviting me for an online intake. Awesome!
Every staff member who wants to join an overnight hockey camp for the first time has to do an intake with SportWays. Right before the summer starts, all the new staff join the annual rookie day. During this day, you’ll get prepped for your very first overnight hockey camp. I’m carpooling to the SportWays office with three other girls that I have never met before, they don’t know each other either. From the very first moment, it feels right! ‘Wow, even before my first camp starts I already have three new friends’ I thought to myself.
My first overnight hockey camp is legendary. I immediately know that I would definitely come back next summer. But how can I already tell that I know this? It’s hard to tell. When I try to explain it to my friends back home, I do not have the words. When you ask a SportWays staff member why they return every year, they will tell you that it is that SportWays feeling.
SportWays feels like family. A group of people that you have a special connection with. People that you do not see on a regular basis, but with whom it always feels comfortable. A group of people that you love and that love you, who are truly interested in you and with whom you have deep, meaningful conversations that you only have with your best friends. There is no other place where you can be yourself to that extent, with so much positive energy.
At SportWays, you learn to appreciate the little things. You learn how to enjoy yourself, what you want to do in life and how you want to develop yourself. And once you know this, SportWays can help you to achieve your goals. Because why wouldn’t you? It doesn't matter what other people think.
A SportWays camp is really intense. During the week, you live in a bubble. It feels like the real world does not exist. That feeling is magical. You can feel that magic as a ‘tent mom’ or ‘tent dad’. Together with another staff member, you are responsible for your own tent, including the participants. You wake them up every morning, and make sure they go to bed on time every night. ‘Easy’, I thought, ‘no big deal’. Until you meet your kids and build a special connection with them. You can talk to these kids for hours!
During one of my camps, I was the ‘tent mom’ of a tent with eight German boys. Every morning, me and my fellow staff member woke them with loud music. For 15 minutes, we were all dancing, singing, and jumping around in the tent. And in the evenings, right before bed, the boys would tell me all their adventures of that day, we’d talk about who they wanted to take to date night, and we’d talk about new tricks they would like to learn. The kids will lock you in their hearts, and you will do the exact same thing. It’s not a surprise that you shed some tears when you have to say goodbye at the end of the week. That is SportWays magic, the magic of ‘your’ tent, the friendship between participants and staff.
I always have so much fun at a SportWays hockey camp. With the staff, the kids and with each other. This is your camp, and this is your week. A week that creates memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.
SportWays is and will forever be that feeling. It’s hard to explain, and you do not really have words to describe it. It makes you feel homesick, happy, energetic and wistful all at the same time. It remains an unexplainable feeling, that you really have to experience for yourself.
Do you want to experience that SportWays feeling? Check out here how you can become a staff member!