Kids bring energy, noise to Wednesday's Shock game

Camp Day Floods The Palace


Row after row of buses filled the parking lot Wednesday afternoon as summer camps from throughout Michigan converged on The Palace for the Shock game Wednesday afternoon. Amongst the crowd of roughly 10,000 that took part in the annual Camp Day was the South Oakland YMCA camp group, which brought over sixty kids between seven and nine years old.

The group arrived around 10:30 a.m. and spent some time in the parking lot eating lunch and enjoying the Shockfest inflatables and activities. Nine-year-old Jacob Miracle from Madison Heights was quick to talk about his favorite spot he found in the short time they spent outside. “We shot at the hoop game,” he said. “I made it once.”

After being outside they found their seats in the middle of section 201. The Palace looked like a multicolored quilt, with each camp group wearing a different color t-shirt. Wearing his bright yellow t-shirt, Miracle said he's more reserved than his fellow campers. “I only scream once and awhile,” he said.

“Yeah, but when he does, it’s really loud,” said his counselor Jason Wiley, 22, from Oak Park.

Wiley found out what "loud" really was as thousands of high-pitched, screaming voices flooded The Palace throughout the game. At first he laughed at the "Noise Factory" warning signs on the stairs to the 200 level. “We thought it was a joke,” he said. “But it was really loud.”

Wiley has been coming to Camp Day for the last three years and says this is the biggest one he has been too so far. “It’s fun to let the them come out, play and be active at ShockFest and the game,” he said. “The kids really love it.”

Georgie Abbey, nine, from Pontiac, had never been to The Palace for a Shock game but is no stranger to the team. “It's better at The Palace than watching it on TV,” she said. “It’s really fun.” The energetic Abbey tried to catch the cameramen’s attention from the upper bowl by screaming and dancing -- like just every other kid. “My favorite is the Smile Cam,” she said. “My friend was on it, and I was close.”

As the largest camp organization involved in Camp Day, all participating YMCA groups had the chance to stay after the game and meet Shock guard Pee Wee Johnson. She was introduced to the crowd and took questions and comments from the kids. Questions thrown her way ranged from how old she was when she started playing to what video games she likes to play.

For taking time to talk with them, the YMCAs of Metropolitan Detroit made Johnson an honorary camp member and presented her with a purple camp T-shirt.

The campers were in for another surprise when they got to watch a video of all the activities they had done since camp started -- on PalaceVision. The kids cheered as they watched super-sized clips of their trip to the Detroit Zoo, their talent show and others.

The YMCAs had one last shot when they ended their day by each shooting a basket on the Shock court as the familiar “YMCA” song blared throughout the Palace. It was the second time that day the popular Village People anthem had the place rocking. And while all the kids knew exactly how to do the dance, Wiley had a chance to clear up one misconception. “Here’s a fun fact,” Wiley said. “We really only sing and dance to this song when we are at The Palace.”