By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON – Fun and finances can go hand and hand. South Effingham coach Adam Newland and his softball players proved that last week at their softball camp.
The Mustangs provided four days of instruction for girls ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. Thursday's final hour was spent getting wet and wild, cooling off with jaunts down an inflatable water slide and sliding on plastic tarps.
"This camp is for our community," Newland said. "We want to get (young girls) out to South Effingham, get them some instruction, but also remind them that softball is fun. Yes, we want to work hard and get better. We've done all that, but we want to make sure we're having fun playing the game too."
Amid the fun is the serious side of raising money for the softball program. Tax dollars support schools' extracurricular activities, but only to a certain point.
Newland said extra travel and extra equipment costs can add up quickly. SEHS is scheduled to travel to three Saturday tournaments this fall.
And for a squad loaded with returning players from a 26-win season, budgeting ahead for postseason travel can't start too early either.
That's where summer camps enter. South's softball camp drew 30 girls, each paying a $100 entry fee. The proceeds go to the program.
"It's no secret if you're running a high school program and trying to run it at a high level, you have to do some things to help with expenses," Newland said. "This will take some of the pressure off our parents to raise that money."
Last week, South Effingham also hosted cheerleading and volleyball youth camps. This week, baseball and soccer bring kids to campus.
Newland said it rained every day, but the Mustangs were fortunate to have covered batting cages and an artificial turf football field nearby to offset soggy conditions.
"We talked a little about this with our staff and our kids," Newland said. "When you have weather like this, you can lament the weather or be grateful for what we have."
So players and campers took turns gleefully getting wet in the inflatable water slide and on the slip-and-slide tarps as the camp came to an end.
Twenty minutes earlier, there was a downpour, but no one seemed to mind.