A camp dedicated to teaching kids about the ins and outs of sports broadcasting has a Philadelphia-area branch.
Around this time every summer, parents wave goodbye — sometimes cheerfully, sometimes tearfully — to their children as they depart for overnight camp. The typical camp experience places kids in a variety of athletic settings, whether on the basketball court, soccer pitch or baseball diamond. Constant activity and promotion of athletic participation are fundamental to the camp establishment.
The Play By Play Sports Broadcasting Camps, founded by Jeremy Treatman, have a jam-packed itinerary for campers who are heavily interested in sports. However, these campers are not necessarily interested in honing their jump shots or sharpening their baseball swings. Treatman’s camp attracts campers who are intrigued by another aspect of sports — broadcasting and journalism.
Guest speakers serve as a major attraction for the campers. This past week at the Philadelphia camp, held at Villanova University, Treatman and Goldstein brought in two distinguished Jewish sports media figures in ESPN Insider Adam Caplan and 94WIP radio personality Paul Jolovitz. In past years, the camp has brought in several other Jewish broadcasters, namely Michael Barkann of Comcast Sportsnet, Bram Weinstein of ESPN and Kenny Albert, a sportscaster who holds the unique distinction of calling play-by-play for all four major professional sports leagues.
Five-year camper Brock Landis speaks highly of these guest appearances, explaining, “They are very insightful, providing us with techniques we can use on and off the camera.”
The campers’ week is packed with numerous activities that simulate the sports broadcasting experience. They learn how to work with teleprompters, perform sideline reports and conduct player interviews. Landis gained invaluable experience holding a mock press conference with Villanova basketball stars Daniel Ochefu and Josh Hart. Additionally, campers were granted access to the Eagles locker room at Lincoln Financial Field, where they recorded on-air stand-up reports.
At the Philadelphia camp, the passion and energy of each camper was noticeable. It was quite clear that everyone in the room truly loved sports and the accompanying media component. Landis, most likely representing the rule than the exception, asserted his desire to pursue a career in sports broadcasting. He credits the Play By Play camps with building up his confidence, as he has been able to diversify his abilities as a writer and on-air personality. The camp has also encouraged networking, a tool critical not just to sports media, but all fields of business. Landis, a high school student, has already landed a few writing positions on websites, including OutsidePitchmlb.com, which is affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Landis is one of many campers that return year after year, dedicated to improving in every aspect of the sports broadcasting field. Year to year, Treatman observes the campers’ improvement. “It’s totally noticeable,” he said. “I’ve had 10- and 11-year-olds come in for their first summers, shy as ever, and five or six years later, I’m ready to call Comcast Sportsnet and ESPN about them.” This steady improvement has led to numerous success stories. Brian Seltzer, a Philadelphia camper in the early 2000s, is now a 76ers radio host for 97.5 The Fanatic. Dan Koob, another camper out of Philadelphia, covers the Green Bay Packers on TV for the NBC affiliate in Green Bay.
Despite the camp’s specialized nature, when Treatman talks about his hopes for Play By Play attendees, he sounds like any other leader who only wants the best for his charges. At the end of camp, he hopes for each camper to “learn a lot, have fun and make new friends” and to “be exposed to things [they] never knew existed.”