Campers talk about their experience at the camp and what they want to improve on throughout the week. (Megan Woodward / Carroll County Times)
Pop music resonated from a speaker system at the McDaniel College softball field on Wednesday, where groups of girls between the ages of 7 and 18 practiced their skills in different stations.
The Green Terror Summer Softball Camp is designed for girls of all skill levels to develop the fundamentals of softball and increase their abilities as well. The camp offers an overnight option for girls who wish to stay on McDaniel's campus through the week, in addition to the day camp.
"We try to do all parts of the game," camp director Stephanie Maring said. "We do a lot of fielding, throwing, working on fundamentals, which we know are important. We do some infield and outfield basic skills and cover a lot of hitting and hitting mechanics. We do baserunning, working on leaves and steals and sliding to try and give them a good idea of all the fundamentals of the entire game."
Maring, a South Carroll alum, graduated from McDaniel in 2014 and also played for the Green Terror prior to assisting head coach Phil Smith with the team and summer camp duties. This is her fourth year as the camp's director.
Current Terror softball players returned to campus as counselors for the summer camp, including Florida natives Tayler Hishon, Payton Lewis and Alicia Wagner. Senior outfielder Morgan Scardina has been a counselor for four years, she said. Scardina used to be a member of the camp and when she aged out, she returned to help and teach the current girls.
The transition through the camp has been rewarding for Scardina, she said.
"It's really cool actually because a lot of the girls that are campers that have been here for a few years were actually here when I was a camper," Scardina said. "It's crazy that they keep coming back every year, but it's really cool because you get to see it from both sides. You really are trying to get them out there and work and they love every second of it."
Hailey Wolfrey, 14, a student at Mount Airy Middle School, said learning from the Green Terror counselors is intimidating, but their leadership is helpful. Fellow camper Mikky Davis, 14, of Inwood, West Virginia, agreed.
"It feels good, but you obviously want to do good in front of them so you try your hardest," Davis said.
Wolfrey, Davis and Riley Smith, 10, of Annapolis, each come from different places and have embraced the opportunity to build relationships with other campers, as well as improving on multiple facets of the game. Throughout the week, they tested their skill sets in multiple ways — Wolfrey said she wanted to improve her batting and fielding, Davis wanted to get faster at pitching and Smith tackled her hitting skills.
Hearsay, online research, recommendations from other coaches, whatever it may be, the girls came to share a common admiration for the sport they love.
"My softball coach initially told us about it," Hailey said. "My first year was last year and I came with two people from my team and we came to try it out and we liked it so we came back."
A popular camp feature liked all across the board comes in the form of a Slip 'N Slide — a great way for the girls to stay cool while practicing sliding through bases, Scardina said.
Campers who choose to stay overnight get to experience firsthand what it's like to be in college as well. The girls sleep in the campus dorms and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining halls, similar to what college students do on a daily basis.
"I think they're more comfortable when they come out here because they have friends," Scardina said. "They've been hanging out with each other all night and everything. It's not just, they come out here and not know anybody. They build really good relationships out here with being here every night and being out here playing softball."