SVA summer camps return to the Grove

South Valley Athletics held a cheerleading camp session on Tuesday in Coiner Park, preparing kids for their spot in the Bohemia Mining Days Grand Miners Parade.

A year ago at this time, the coronavirus pandemic put a screeching halt on many people’s summer plans, including South Valley Athletics’ (SVA) yearly camps and tournaments.

“It was disappointing,” Dewey Epperson, the SVA board president said. “I always like to have programs for the kids and community to do, but just not having that was sad.”

Fast forward to just under a year later in late April, SVA was finally approved to put on a soccer season for young kids with the mask mandate still in effect. This marked a huge step in the right direction for the kids and the city, as sports were finally on the horizon.

Now, with the mask mandate lifted and cases dwindling by the week, SVA is back with their yearly summer camps.

July 10 marked the long-awaited return to these summer programs, as a volleyball camp was held at Riverside Church. The second session of volleyball camp is expected to be held on July 24 from 9 - 11 a.m at the same location.

From July 12 to July 16, SVA put on a second program for their kids — a cheerleading camp. The camp is being held at Coiner Park, and the kids are slated to walk in the Bohemia Mining Days Grand Miners Parade on July 17.

A basketball camp is also in the works with the dates and locations still unknown.

“Having these summer camps available and just being able to see the smiles on these kids’ faces and the fun that they’re having and the joy that it brings to them to keep them healthy is just awesome to see,” Epperson said.

While the pandemic forced many businesses and programs to re-strategize, SVA did little to no change on their summer camps. The strategy could be considered risky, but it’s paid off so far solely based on the feedback they’ve received.

“I don’t think there was a lot of change that we did this year based on what happened last year,” Epperson said. “We might’ve adjusted the cost a little bit just based on turnout, but we’ve had some positive responses from parents so far.”

Perhaps it’s this original flair that has allowed for a plethora of interest for these programs. In just a few weeks of camps, SVA has seen nothing but constant sign-ups and smooth sessions, foreshadowing a summer to remember in Cottage Grove.

In addition to these youth camps, SVA also offers weekly adult soccer scrimmages. Games are held every Friday at 6 and 7 p.m., but on Aug. 6, games will be starting at 4 p.m. All scrimmages are held at Cottage Grove High School, and anyone over the age of 15 is welcome.

Between the camps, and weekly adult soccer league, it’s evident that SVA has re-created a happy and healthy lifestyle amongst its participants after a year-long hiatus.

Still, SVA is always in search of help with their camps and with their organization in general.

“We are looking for help with setting up and taking down our programs or even if anyone is interested in joining the board,” Epperson said. “Now is a great time to join. We have a nice central location reopening at the library and the city has been giving us lots of help as well. To register for anything, you can either go on our site or”

Go online to for more information.

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