Don't get 12-year-old Gabriel Greathouse wrong.
"I would gladly sit and play games all day," the rising seventh-grader from Akron said.
But he's also glad that's not all they do at Esports Camp at the University of Akron.
The weeklong camp, an offshoot of the university's burgeoning e-sports program, features classroom instruction, group lunches, an hour of exercise each day and team practices. This is the first summer the university has offered the camp, which appears to be one of only a few offered for middle and high school students around the country.
The campers learn about the growing industry of e-sports, which include leagues and teams playing online games like Overwatch, League of Legends, Fortnite and Rocket League. The campers are learning from the e-sports program directors as well as the college students, who now have extensive bragging rights around their expertise — the varsity Rocket League gamers were recently named national champions.
The camp, which has day and overnight options, helps students learn how to excel in the games, but also in life outside of them.
"The real world’s very important," E-sports Coordinator Nate Meeker said.
That's why the camp teaches healthy gaming habits and includes an emphasis on communicating with teammates.
"That has really helped them make some connections here at the camp and broaden their social experience," Meeker said.
For some of the kids, he said, it's likely the first summer camp their parents could convince them to attend. While some of them aspire to be professional gamers or to earn scholarships to play in college, Meeker said he's made it a priority to open them up to other possibilities within the industry, on the design, financial or management sides of the business.
Gabriel said his grandmother sent him to the camp as a birthday present. He didn't usually play competitive games, he said, preferring solo ones that have more of a narrative.
"I find the aspect of being immersed in a story much more engaging," the 12-year-old said.
He was impressed with the facilities, both at the university in general and in the e-sports headquarters in the Honors College. The room features two dozen or so computer monitors, each with chairs with lumbar and neck support built specifically for game playing.
He was surprised to find such a facility at UA, he said.
Meeker said that's another goal of the summer camp and e-sports as a whole: to expose the outside world to what Akron has to offer. When the varsity college students compete, they are interacting with students from across the globe. The camp has already attracted kids from other states, as they can opt to stay overnight in the dorms for the week.
The camp runs for two more weeks. Spots are still open for the week of July 22, and campers can choose the day or overnight option. For more information, go to uakron.edu/esports.
Contact reporter Jennifer Pignolet at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.