Ultimate Catches On With First Mercer Island Summer Camp

Members of Mercer Island High School's ultimate team are coordinating an ultimate camp this summer through the Boys and Girls Club from July 30 to Aug. 3.

To many, ultimate frisbee may seem like a summer pastime, but to a group of students at , it’s become a cause.

This summer, members from the Mercer Island High School Ultimate Frisbee team are organizing an introductory ultimate camp from July 30 to Aug. 3 through the .

The camp is co-ed for youngsters from third to eighth grade and will be held at Mercer Island High School’s from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m, Monday through Friday.  

James Gendreau and David Ball, former captains of the MIHS ultimate team, came up with the idea for the camp last year.

The ultimate goal of the camp is “to promote ultimate on the Island,” said Gendreau, while also promoting sportsmanship and teamwork.

It is the first time an ultimate frisbee camp is being offered on Mercer Island.

The sport of ultimate has been gaining momentum on the Island. While ultimate has been a club sport at Mercer Island High for years, this year the club officially became a competitive team by playing within the Northwest League. The team has approximately 30 players on its roster.

Gendreau wants to model ultimate after and other sports that have a strong following. “We want them to start young,” he said. "If young kids get involved in ultimate, by the time they’re in high school, they’ll have the skill set to play competitively."

This year’s camp counselors will be James Gendreau, David Ball, David Larimer, Mikayla Davis, Katie Wright and Sam Lehman, all players or former players of Mercer Island’s ultimate team, with the exception of Lehman.

Lehman is a sophomore at Northwest School in Seattle but a resident of Mercer Island. He has been playing ultimate frisbee since elementary school and plays with the Seattle Fryz club team, which is ranked first in the country amongst youth teams. Nonetheless, Lehman practices with Mercer Island’s team and helps coach players.

Almost all of the counselors have at least two years of experience playing the sport.

“The thing about ultimate, the people who play it love giving back to the sport so much,” said Lehman. “Ultimate has this driving force called the spirit of the game.”

Ultimate is self-refereed and players call their own fouls. The “spirit of the game” encourages sportsmanship, fair play and respect.

“It’s an important part of our camp,” said Gendreau.

In order to hold the camp, a minimum of 20 young boys and girls need to register.

“If this goes well, we will be doing this again,” said Gendreau.

Register online or email bshaddle@positiveplace.org for more information.

Ken Glass June 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
This is terrific....reminds me of my days in the 70s in high school playing Ultimate. I had the fortune of playing against some of the earliest players of the sport (it originated at Columbia High School in Maplewood NJ) and stayed with it through college, grad school and after. I'm delighted to see it picking up on MI and hope it catches on to become quite popular.


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