We ran our inaugural Kokushi Midwest Kids Summer Judo Camp this past week and it was a success. We had 8 campers and that was the perfect size for me to handle as I had never run a camp before. I did have an idea of some goals that I wanted to accomplish -- I wanted the kids to learn some basic history and culture, judo rules and hand signals as well as some famous judo people. These are some things that I don't really cover in an hour class because most kids are tired after school and just want to blow off steam.... but by having a 3-hour judo camp for 5 days, gave me the perfect opportunity to do this. We started the days off with stretching and calistenics (squats, push ups, planks and basic movements), then we got into our technique of the day (I purposely made this a no-gi camp so that the kids wouldn't complain about their judo gi and getting all sweaty, but I did ask that they wear their gi pants or spats to cover their knees) which was either falling, ogoshi, or some pins/escapes, then we went into snack time during which, I gave a mini-lecture on my "chosen subject". After that, we went to the park for a little bit, then came back and did a mini-tournament which was either a dance-off, a limbo contest (they loved this), or a sumo contest. By the end of the 3-hours, they were exhausted. I was exhausted. But by the end of the week, the kids could easily name 3 or 4 judo superstars, call off hand signals, tell me the principles of judo and when/where it was founded. They could also easily demonstrate the techniques in a relaxed environment. It was a tough week, but they all loved it. I figured that if the kids' could have fun training, have fun eating together (we went through 3 watermelons during the camp) as well as having fun with some games, then we all become better people for it. And the one thing that I know that they took away from this camp was their perception of saying, "I CAN'T". That was not allowed during the camp and they all knew that even if they just change the way of saying it, "I am unable to do this right now" or "I'm having trouble with this", always changes the mentality of their training. They knew that they could always try and practice.... rather than just giving up without trying. This is the one lesson that I hope that they will take away from this camp.