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Fun Drives ATAVUS Youth Efforts

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Fun Drives ATAVUS Youth Efforts

Alex Goff photos.

The summer is done but it has been a summer of rugby for many young kids throughout the Seattle area.

Gordon answers questions and oversees the kids during their activities. Photos Alex Goff.

ATAVUS has run a series of youth camps, working directly with Boys & Girls Club chapters to teach the game to young boys and girls. But it’s more than just getting a ball in the hands of the kids, although that’s a big part of it, the camps, run on the grounds of the Boys & Clubs, are about helping the kids grow up.

“We give them a lot of stuff,” said former Central Washington University star Kellen Gordon, who runs the camps with other ATAVUS coaches. “We work on goal-setting and talk about not giving up and working as a team.”

ATAVUS provides young players with a rugby journal, which talks about the game and the camps, but also healthy eating, individual goals for the kids, crosswords and word searches, and a way to record what they learned each day.

“The ATAVUS staff designs the program, and we have excellent coaches working with the kids,” said Gordon. “We make it fun, and it’s great to see the kids show up.”

“What I like about it is how much we play,” said Lev, one of the young kids involved. “I’ve been to a few sports camps and usually we play a little bit and then we stop. But with rugby we have consistency; we’re always doing something.”

“The whole staff makes it fun,” added Nolan, another participant. 

“At the end of the day my mom always asks me, what did I do today?” added Lev. “And with rugby we always learn something new.”

(Editor note: We did not embellish or enhance Lev’s quotes at all. He is about nine or ten years old, and very articulate.)

The rugby program gets kids outside during the summer, and is a big hit with the Boys & Girls Club - interestingly, during the school year it’s the city youth sports programs that jump at rugby, while during the summer it’s Boys & Girls. 

“It’s fantastic that we can offer this,” said Billy Rodgers, the Director of the Ballard Boys & Girls Club. “We’re able to offer an exciting non-tackle sport. And the thing about rugby is, because it’s so new to them, they are all coming in at the same level. That means they start out equal and how they learn is up to them. It’s not a sport they see on TV every night, but I think learning about rugby gives them options, and I think youth rugby is a great sport for kids whose parents don’t want them to play football until they’re older.”

Getting the kids excited to play isn’t hard, added Gordon. The big step after that is to keep them involved.

“We direct them to a place to play after the camp, that’s really important.”


If you want to contact Kellen Gordon to get more information on ATAVUS Youth Camps and Clinics, you can reach him here:

Kellen Gordon, ATAVUS Youth Development Manager

206 920 4175