West Hartford's 2-4-1 Sports Sets the Standard for Camps During Pandemic

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Summer camps are finally giving kids some much needed outdoor time and there's one sports camp in Connecticut that has become a model for programs across North America.

2-4-1 Sports, which was pioneered in West Hartford, was already a leader in “sports sampling," which is an effort to get young athletes to try as many sports as possible before specializing in one. Now, though, it’s become a model for how to safely hold athletic camps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program Director and Founder Steve Boyle said not only have they been involved in conversations with Connecticut state officials on how to safely get kids back to some normal activities, but they've also spoken with programs in the UK, Australia and India.

Boyle said they hosted a webinar for several different states and countries to brainstorm ways to mitigate risks associated with holding a camp during the pandemic, discussing everything from how to feed campers to best practices for bathroom breaks.

For 2-4-1 Sports Camp at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford this week, campers are divided into cohorts, which they stay with all week. Typically campers choose a handful of different traditional sports to focus on, however this year, there’s more emphasis on sports you can play anywhere like handball or Frisbee.

“We wanted it to be games that the kids could take home because I think that's been one of the gifts of the pandemic is that kids have had to learn neighborhood play,” said Boyle.

“I feel like that's the whole purpose of this camp,” said 8th-grade camper Maddy Peterson. “Life's too short for just one sport. I get to try so many more sports. We don't get bored. It's super fun, I love it.”

2-4-1 Sports is set to launch its first camp in Canada this summer. Boyle said it’s still on, though because of travel restrictions he won’t be able to visit as he’d planned.

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