Some of you may have heard of Jason Raven. The one time captain of the USA Eagles’ 7s side. Once the most capped USA 7s player. An all around great rugby player. Raven’s career aside from extensive 7s for team USA, has included two international 15s matches, as well as stints with the like of OMBAC, Huntington Beach, North County Gurkhas, Richmond (VA), and touring sides like the Misfits playing both 7s and 15s. His rugby career however started in Central California of all places with Fresno Rugby Football Club. While Raven’s successful rugby career took him around the world and away from where it started, he never lost sight of his humble rugby beginnings.
As a way to give back to the game Raven has been involved coaching (Cathedral High School in SoCal, as well as previously with the North County Gurkhas). He’s also been involved with youth rugby camps including the Elite Rugby Camp, College Recruitment Combine Program (which became as part of the Serevi Camps which is now ATAVUS). Raven however wanted to focus on specific areas of the game and so he eventually launched his own camp the Rugby Skills Camps with Jason Raven. Each year Raven takes this camp back to where his rugby career began in Fresno, which now has a booming youth rugby scene as well (with over 8 high school programs in the area, as well as U-14, U-12, and U-10s).
This year he will be hosting a camp in Fresno on the same day as his former club’s version of an alumni game called the Annual Over/Under 30 Challenge Match (which is in its 34th year) creating for a full day of rugby. Raven (a friend and contributor to this site) has coordinated with the Central California Rugby Foundation to do a camp for all levels of youth rugby (U-10s to High School).
The camp will be held next Saturday, December 5th in Fresno and Raven and our team were able to chat briefly about upcoming camp.
The Rugby Republic (RR): So when did you first establish the camp or take it to the Valley?
Jason Raven: The camp(s) were established about five years ago when I attend the over/under match (in Fresno) and youth rugby had started up in the area.
RR: What was your goal with camp?
Jason Raven: My goal with the camp is to work with the youth, high school, college and senior men's and women's rugby clubs to build both individual and team skills, fitness and overall wellness.
RR: How can this camp help the youth?
Jason Raven: The camps help the youth with basic Rugby knowledge and skills required to play rugby. Fundamentals are the key.
RR: How important are camps in the rugby world and why?
Jason Raven: These camps are important in the rugby world for many reasons but the most important is continue to promote and expose as many US athletes to the greatest game ever played. Camps are a great way/place to teach specific skills, correct techniques and develop players. As players advance there are more camps, and camps are used by USA Rugby at the next level to help screen, assess and develop players.
RR: What will the kids learn at this camp and why should they really take advantage of this camp?
Jason Raven: Basic to advanced rugby knowledge, skills, fitness and wellness associated with rugby or any sport. We will also share some drills that they may not have participate in yet.
RR: Where else do you usually hold the camps?
Jason Raven: Where ever I am needed (lol).
RR: Why have you opted to host a brief camp in Fresno?
Jason Raven: I opted to host a brief camp in Fresno because it's where it all started for me and led me to my 10 year international and professional rugby career. The Central Valley is packed with many amazing athletes and fortunately rugby is getting bigger and bigger here. I just want to help in anyway I can and give back to the city that started it all. I want to be able to give back but also help the overall cause of rugby in America by developing good players.
Date: Saturday December 5, 2015.
Location: Holman Park (Sierra and West) in Fresno.
Cost: No Cost (camp sponsored by Bullard Youth Rugby).
Registration required- To register email Rob Tookoian at firstname.lastname@example.org