SIU to host first-ever E-sports boot camp

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - A first-of-its-kind summer camp actually encourages kids to get behind a screen and play their favorite video games and more.

“I created this camp to try to get kids who are interested into gaming to actually learn what it means to be a competitive gamer,” said Drew Arnone-Hillis, E-sports boot camp director.

Arnone-Hillis heads up the weeklong E-sports camp at SIU for kids in the age group of 12 to 15.

“So, it’s just kind of going through the different aspects of going through games, practicing creating strats and working on like communication and all that stuff,” said Arnone Hillis.

But it’s not all about just playing video games, there’s more to the E-Sports boot camp.

“We actually spend the first two hours of the day outside where we’re doing team building activities, discussing different aspects of video games, like how to practice, how to create different strategies and tactics,” he explained.

This first camp is a small group of five gamers, including 14-year-old Parker Tolina.

“If you find this really interesting, I think gamers would love this of course,” he said.

His favorite part about camp, collaborating with his fellow gamers.

“Definitely Ciesco, Ciesco with the four others. Teaming up against some dude over on the other side who don’t know what they’re doing and just totally bouncing on them and getting those wins,” he said.

Arnone-Hillis said he hopes more young people give competitive gaming a try.

“So E-sports is kind of a way to get that competitive energy that you might have out without having to actually be very athletic or have to be great at a sport. All it takes, really, is you just need to concentrate, be able to communicate and maybe a little hand eye coordination,” said Arnone-Hillis.

He hoped to expand his E-sports camp into a multi-week experience next summer.

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