Summer Camp: Kids taught the finer points of volleyball

HARLINGEN — Leily Contreras moved swiftly forward, hands together and spiked the volleyball.


The ball fired into the air, over the net and into the expectant fists of Jocelyn Reyes, 12.

Both girls seemed to enjoy the Harlingen Boys & Girls Clubs Volleyball Camp, taking place this week.

“It’s good, it’s fun,” said Leily, 15, who was participating in the camp with about 50 enthusiastic young players.

“We’re learning how to serve,” she said, breathing heavily during a session at the Main Unit at 1209 W. Washington Ave.

“You meet new people; you learn how to do stuff,” she added.

The volleyball camp concludes today.

Coaches worked with the young players from 2 pm to 4:30 p.m. teaching the finer points of volleyball such as bumping, spiking, setting and serving.

Bumping refers to a player using the forearms to pass the ball to a teammate. Setting means the player sets up a ball so another player can spike it over the net. Spiking the ball means hitting the ball hard enough to send it over the net.

There was a rush of enthusiasm throughout the basketball/volleyball court, the kind of liberating power that comes with the hot days of summer. Shoes screeched across the floor, young athletes charged quickly forward, stopped and spun around, eyes searching the air for the ball.

The four coaches teaching volleyball to the kids are all former members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harlingen. One of those coaches is Hazel Quilantan, 20, who is currently studying at Texas State Technical College to become a dental hygienist.

Quilantan said the decision to hold the camp came at the last minute. Considering the turnout and the enthusiasm, it was apparently a good decision.

“It teaches them the fundamentals of volleyball so they can get ready for next year for middle school and high school volleyball,” Quilantan said. “It’s good that they meet people.”

Hilda Gathright, director of the Boys & Girls Clubs unit at LeMoyne Gardens, was delighted to see how well the young women were coaching the kids. She was at the Main Unit watching “her girls” with admiration. One of them was her daughter DeeAndra Gathright.

“This is where they learned how to pay volleyball and coach,” she said.

The young women played varsity volleyball at Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South in the not so distant past. Now they’re at the Boys & Girls Clubs sharing what they’d learned.

“I love it, I love it,” Gathright said. “It’s unbelievable. They grew up here.”

Aleida Joy, 16, was having a great time playing learning the finer points of volleyball.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s very competitive.”

Like many of the other players, playing volleyball wasn’t the only reason Aleida was enjoying the camp.

“You make a lot of new friends,” she said. “You learn new things. I have played for two years.”

Volleyball Coaches

Hazel Quilantan,

DeeAndra Gathright

Sami Quilantan

Emily Susan