Been there, done that.
The cliche is usually uttered to show disinterest. Not at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation summer volleyball camp where most of the assistant coaches were once campers themselves and are now enjoying the event from a different perspective.
South Whidbey High School volleyball coach Mandy Jones directs the camp and enlists her current players to help out.
One of those players is rising senior Chloe Johnson, who attended camp herself during her grade school years. Being one of the instructors is “fun in a different way,” she said.
“I looked forward to coming to camp every summer; now it’s fun coaching kids who will be potential players for the high school.
“And, they are excited to be here, which makes it even more fun.”
Rising senior Emma Leggett, who attended camp four years as a youngster, likes “seeing all the kids come out and helping them develop into the players they want to become.”
Rising freshman Chanel Sterba has been around volleyball long before she was old enough to take part in the camp, which is for kids kindergarten through the sixth grade.
She is related to coach Jones and tagged along to camp and high school practices most of her life.
“I have a picture of me holding a volleyball when I was 2,” she said. “Now it is fun helping kids instead of getting help. It is also fun helping people who want to grow up and play volleyball.”
Johnson said when she attended camp, she thought the high school players “were the coolest thing ever.”
“I looked up to them a lot,” she added. “Now I try to be a good role model for these kids.”
Jones has directed the summer camp, VolleyKids, the past 10 years and sees it as a good way to develop players for her high school program.
“I firmly believe in starting them young,” she said. “We want them to have fun, learn the sport and keep playing.”
In addition to running the summer camp, Jones offers camps in late winter and early spring because “the kids keep asking for more volleyball.”
Campers Kyla Rogers, 11; Rhylee Inne, 6; Thea Williams, 11; Alyssa Staats, 11; and Robby Sullivan, 9, all said they like camp because they not only get to play volleyball but get to do it with their friends.
“I have never been to volleyball camp before and it is fun to learn new things,” Staats added.
Coach Jones’ daughter, Gretta Jones, 8, said, “I like to learn new things every year; that is what makes it fun.”