Rugby camp offered for kids ages 7 to 12 in Bonney Lake and Buckley

Rugby is played by 4.4 million people in more than 120 countries across six continents by men and women and now Rugby Washington and Rainier Plateau Junior Rugby are offering local girls and boys the opportunity to give the sport a try.

Rainier Plateau Junior Rugby will offer Rookie Rugby, a six-week, noncontact rugby camp for girls and boys ages 7 to 12.

Rookie Rugby will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. one night a week in two locations. The first location is Emerald Hills Elementary in Bonney Lake July 8, 15, 22 and 29 and Aug. 5 and 12. A second program will take place at White River Alternative Programs campus in Buckley July 6, 13, 20 and 27 and Aug. 3 and 10.

At the local camps, participants will learn basic skills, while playing flag, non-contact rugby. The cost is $30 per player and includes a ball and T-shirt. For information, visit the Web site at or contact Andy Ramsay at or 253-330-6816.

According to Rainier Plateau Junior Rugby coach Ramsay, who will oversee the program, Rugby Washington was formed in November and is strictly a youth boys and girls organization. The summer program is expected to broaden the sports exposure from Everett to Tacoma. He said the program was started in the inner cities, but is starting to fan out to the suburbs.

Ramsay will be assisted by players from his team, which finished third in its league this spring, and made the playoffs for the first time. One of the highlights for Rainier Plateau Junior Rugby was competing in a Canadian high school tournament.

Rugby is gaining popularity, Ramsay said, especially among girls.

"Girls rugby is quite big around here," he said, noting Enumclaw High graduate Mileka Grager is playing with the Washington State University Cougars, which recently won the national title.

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