High school athletes choose diverse summer activities to build for their futures
With one school year in the rearview mirror and another quickly approaching, high school athletes have only so much freedom during the summer.
Instead of spending their time playing video games, going to the movies or hanging out with friends, these local athletes are finding ways to help others or build for their futures — from teaching their sports to children to learning about potential professions and more.
-- Katherine Dunn and Glenn Graham
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Ben Carrier, Southern cross country, wrestling and lacrosse( Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / June 22, 2013 )
Southern rising senior Ben Carrier stays active throughout the school year -- running for the cross country team in the fall, wrestling in the winter and playing lacrosse in the spring for the Bulldogs.
The summer keeps him equally busy, challenged and uniquely rewarded.
In high school, Carrier has been a camp counselor at Bishop Claggett Center in Frederick County each summer. Working with elementary and middle school children for weeklong camps, he'll lead a number of activities this summer, including hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing and rope courses.
"I just love being outside," Carrier said. "Sometimes, you're not always doing what you like to do, but you always remember you¿re there for the kids. And it's always such a big reward to see the smiles on their faces at the end of the day."
One week in particular has left the biggest impression on Carrier -- Camp Amazing Grace. It's a program offered at no charge for children ages 8 to 12 who have at least one incarcerated parent. This year, that session is Aug. 11-16.
"I've really learned to appreciate things a lot more because you see kids that really need to get away from everything," he said. "One day, we were all sitting there and saying things we were most grateful for and one girl from Baltimore said she was grateful to be here for the week. She always worries about being shot."
The rope course is Carrier's favorite activity because "it teaches kids to trust themselves and each other, and get out of their comfort zones."
During the last day of Camp Amazing Grace last summer, a thunderstorm temporarily knocked out power and had one girl particularly scared.
"There was a girl who wasn't really getting along with the same girl all week, and she was the one there to comfort her during the huge storm," Carrier said. "That was truly amazing."
Carrier said wrestling is his favorite sport because of the six-minute individual grind of each match.
In his first full varsity season as a junior last winter, he finished with a 30-9 record.