Steamboat local to host kids ultimate frisbee camp this summer
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A weeklong, youth ultimate frisbee clinic will be held June 17 to 21 in Whistler Park in Steamboat Springs.
The clinic will be hosted by James Hix, who started Steamboat’s Organized Ultimate League — or SOUL — five years ago. Hix discovered ultimate frisbee at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, where he started playing competitively.
He started a local league in New Jersey when he left college, then when he moved to Steamboat five years ago, he did the same.
“It attracts a lot of free thinkers and positive people and, essentially, leaders in our communities,” Hix said. “It’s also the nature of the sport, there’s something about the way disc flies and floats and hangs for a moment. Catch that disc and next play is happening, there’s an alacrity to it.”
SOUL attracts 16 to 20 people twice a week once the snow is melted off the ground. Members of SOUL will be around to help with the youth clinic this June, which will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day for a week.
The goal of the clinic is to teach kids ages 12 to 17 the foundational skills needed to play ultimate frisbee, while also enforcing five core values: friendship, integrity, respect, grit and fun.
“It’s a great sport that opens up conversations for kids,” Hix said. “By nature it’s all self-refereed: Everybody makes their own calls. Nobody else there, so ultimate has a high level of integrity amongst the sports world.”
The coed nature of the sport is also something Hix wants to emphasize in his clinic. Gender equity in sports is becoming a more commonplace discussion in today’s world, so he thinks it’s important to provide a foundational education to kids through a competitive game.
Hix best saw the positives of the sport while working with Ultimate Peace in Israel. Ultimate Peace is an ultimate frisbee camp that hopes to foster a positive, multicultural experience between Jewish and Arab teens who might normally be pitted against each other for political reasons.
The sport provides a safe haven for open discussion and to formulate friendships with people they may not connect with. Hix will return to work with the camp for his second year this summer.
“I was blown away at these kids from different backgrounds, and their willingness to open up and be present with somebody who traditionally is m lineage they are in conflict with,” Hix said. “The final result is a family of kids that aren’t at all related by anything else, but they stay in contact and go and visit the different communities and introduce each other to their families.”
Ultimate Peace showed Hix how a sport can change the world from the ground up. He hopes to do the same here in Steamboat.
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