Mt. Blue field hockey coach Jody Harmon, right, speaks with a volunteer during summer field hockey camp. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
FARMINGTON — Marching up and down a parched field is exactly where Jody Harmon wanted to spend a sweltering, summer afternoon.
Harmon has been conducting a field hockey camp at Mt. Blue’s Caldwell Field the past week, where more than a couple of dozen young players from around Franklin County received pointers about the sport.
While a visit to a lake or beach would take the edge off a hot day, the devoted and enthusiastic Mt. Blue field hockey coach has spent the past 10 summers introducing young athletes from grades 3 through 8 to the sport.
Of course, Harmon has plenty of help from her high school players. But she also understands summer camps have become a necessity in every sport.
“Every sport has become so much more advanced, and in our area, until we get a turf field and an indoor-outdoor facility, we have to do this,” Harmon said. “Right now, we are at a disadvantage up here, so we’ve got to get them started early, teaching them the basics, getting to love the game. We need turf.”
Mt. Blue Middle School field hockey coach Meghan Plant, who also works at Mt. Blue High School’s day treatment program, was also on hand to give Harmon help with her eager athletes.
“Every summer, I help her kind of prep, see who the incoming (athletes) are going to be,” Plant said. “I think Jody Harmon is fabulous and this program — it is amazing what she does.
“You can really see it pay off in the season. There has to be about 30 (athletes) — a really great turnout.
“The kids are absolutely great. They are having fun. They are learning and want to be here — smiles all around.”
A perspective from a volunteer and her protege
Mt. Blue junior Brooke Bolduc was giving a one-on-one with lesson with 10-year-old Maddy Goodwin from Wilton.
“This is my third year doing it,” Bolduc said. “I love it. It is just a good opportunity to see the kids having a great time and getting to be themselves on the field.
“It is really important for me to see all these little girls coming out here and being themselves, which is awesome in today’s society.”
Fifth-grader Maddy Goodwin, 10, thinks being a goalie is awesome, too.
Goodwin somehow learned to move around in those cumbersome goalie pads as she received instruction another goaltender — Brooke Bolduc.
Goodwin has been playing field hockey for two years and now she wants to give the goalie position a whirl.
“Well, I wanted to try it out and see if I liked it because I played it once before and I kind of liked it,” Goodwin said.
She is not sure if she will become a goalie, but she enjoys being on the field with her friends in the blazing sun.
“I am used to it (heat),” she said. “I guess I just like to be able to … like it is … really a busy sport and I am usually like in the middle.”
Volunteering and working with young athletes like Goodwin also makes Bolduc feel good about herself and the community.
“It really does,” Bolduc said. “It really brightens my day, as cheesy as that may sound, but it is awesome.”
Goodwin thinks so, too.
Volunteer Brooke Bolduc takes a shot on goalie Maddy Goodwin of Wilton during a drill at a summer camp at Mt. Blue High School’s Caldwell Field in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Mt. Blue Middle School coach Meghan Plant watches an athlete move the ball during a drill at Mt. Blue High School’s Caldwell Field in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Mt. Blue Middle School coach Meghan Plant keeps an eye on the players during a drill at Mt. Blue High School’s Caldwell Field in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Volunteer and Mt. Blue High School field hockey player Brooke Bolduc watches goalie Maddy Goodwin go through a drill. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Goalie Maddy Goodwin goes through a drill. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
A player is all smiles during a field hockey camp. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
A player takes a shot as other field hockey campers look on at Caldwell Field in Farmington. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Two field hockey players take part in a drill. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Field hockey players lineup to participate in a drillA pair of players perform a drill during a summer field hockey camp at Mt. Blue High School’s Caldwell Field in Farmington.
Field hockey camp organizer Jody Harmon keeps an eye on the field. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)