ABOUT SUMMER CAMP: Varsity girls help put the buzz in Jackets-of-tomorrow

SLIP SLIDIN’ AWAY: Lil’ Jacket Soccer Campers got to cool down — and even use their hands — on a water slide at last week’s camp run largely by Byrd High’s varsity players.

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

It’s not easy being a high school coach and hosting a summer sports camp. If it were easy, there would be more opportunities available and more coaches making it a priority — even during their official time off.

C.E. Byrd’s head girls’ soccer coach Lisa Levermann is an exception to the rule. 

“I think it’s important because I’ve seen firsthand how these little girls look up to my varsity players,” Levermann said. “I’ll see them during the year, wearing their Byrd soccer camp shirt, and they are so proud of it.”

In hosting the camps over the years, she has seen an added benefit to hosting the Lil’ Jacket Soccer Camp, which was held last week.

“I make my players design how the camp will run,” Levermann said. “It gets them to think back to when they were little and attending soccer camps and what they liked and what they didn’t like. It also teaches them organization.” 

What happens when you let teenage girls come up with activities at a camp? A Slip ’N Slide. That’s what happened last week at the Lil’ Jacket Soccer Camp, and it made the campers’ day.

Allowing her Byrd soccer girls to work the camp, Levermann sees another benefit to hosting the event every year.

“It gets our girls serving in the community,” Levermann said. “They get service hours by working with the young people, but it’s not just about the hours. It’s about them having fun and giving back.”

Three of the campers this year were children of Byrd faculty members.

“That was neat,” Levermann said. “That allowed our girls to build those relationships with those members of the faculty, and also see those teachers in a role they don’t get to see often — as a parent.” 

Three of the Lil’Jacket Soccer Camp alums were seniors on Levermann’s 2022 team and led the Lady Jackets to a District 1-5A Championship. Khianna Roaraback (Sewanee), Emerson Roberts (ULM), and Katie Smith (Centenary College) are finished with their high school eligibility and all three will move on to play at the next level. 

With those seniors gone, Levermann will turn to her next crop of senior Lady Jackets, which includes Shreveport Bossier Journal All-Metro midfielder Ellie Lawrence. Not only will Levermann be able to count on her on the pitch, she will also be able to depend on Lawrence off the field, as well. Lawrence served as a counselor at this year’s camp. 

For Lawrence, it gave her an opportunity to remember when she was a camper in the Lil’ Jacket Soccer camp.

“I remember how cool it was to be on the field playing with all of the high school girls that I looked up to,” Lawrence said. “It gave me an opportunity to learn from them and see the environment where they trained. I couldn’t wait to be playing on the team.”

Now, there are other takeaways from working at the camp.

“It’s really cool to get to see how my teammates interact with the younger kids,” Lawrence said. “Elizabeth Payne was out there with her younger brother, Henry. We were able to show all of them some of our tricks and make connections.” 

And the water slide?

“I think that was Maddie Joyner’s idea,” Lawrence laughed. “It was so hot last year, we wanted to have something fun to do that would help them cool down after working hard in the heat.”

Contact Jerry at sbjjerrybyrd@gmail.com