One-of-a-kind, the Stonewall Lacrosse Boot Camp is based on three different concepts: lacrosse, leadership/team-building and conditioning/discipline. To achieve all three aspects, the staff, comprised of current and former collegiate players, utilized the facilities at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.
“The primary motivation for starting this camp was to offer high school lacrosse players an opportunity to develop their skills while being challenged both physically and mentally,” said Brian Anken, who founded Stonewall Camps in 2011. The staff put the campers through a typical daily experience at VMI while being taught disciple within a military structure.”
The 2012 edition of the camp ran from June 23-26 and featured 30 campers, who got a true taste of life at VMI. The Boot Campers stayed in barracks and were not allowed to have their cell phones with them. They marched to meals at the Crozet Hall, all wearing the same T-shirts and shorts to look uniform, and slept on “hays”, a thin mattress on a wooden cot.
Prior to their first session, the campers moved into Clark Minnigerode ’92 Locker Room in Paulette Hall, home to the VMI lacrosse team. In the locker room, coaches led the Boot Campers through several Xs and Os sessions as well as film break down.
Not only did the campers live in cadet fashion for three days, but they had opportunities to speak with representatives from various ROTC programs, including the Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force. The Boot Campers also had a guided tour of Post.
Upon arrival to VMI, the campers were broken down into groups of 10, forming companies led by the camp’s staff. Early in the going, the staff and campers participated in the Institute’s obstacle course, building teamwork and confidence in one another. The campers also received individual and group lacrosse instruction during six skills sessions throughout the weekend. All of the lacrosse sessions were held at Drill Field #2, which also serves as the practice site for the Keydet varsity team.
“I want this to be the toughest lacrosse camp in the country and actually get back to the roots of teaching not only lacrosse skills but also discipline, leadership and team building opportunities,” said Anken. “Those who are physically and mentally tough enough to make it through camp will have a true feeling of accomplishing something that most people would not even try to attempt.”
Not only did the campers go through the obstacle course, but they participated in two strength and conditioning sessions at Luck Weight Room with the Institute’s associate head strength coach, Jimmy Whitten. The Boot Campers learned proper technique as well as working on speed and agility. The 30 participants also engaged in conditioning at Clark King Pool.
The highlight of the week came on the final day as the campers ran through the Marine obstacle course, covering ground through the Hip-Hip, a cargo net, upside-down shimmy to a balance beam, a wall hop and a cat crawl in which the campers used only their hands and feet to support themselves through a zigzag course.
The final non-lacrosse event of the camp was the infamous 12-foot wall. Two campers would boost a fellow participant up while another pair at the top of the wall helped haul the climber over the top with the guidance of the camp staff and a pair of spotters below. Every participant made it through the Marine obstacle course and got up and over the wall.
When one camper was asked if he will look to return to Boot Camp again next summer, he simply replied “I’ve already got it on my calendar.”
For more information about the Boot Camp, as well as other opportunities, please visit StonewallCamps.com. Be sure to “like” Stonewall Camps on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/stonewallcamps) and follow on Twitter (@Stonewall_Lax).