In the 32 years the New Westminster Police soccer camp has been held, this may be the first time that two of the participants have come from as far as Alex and Olivia Shepherd have come.
Alex, eight, is rocking a new pair of blue David Beckham soccer cleats while younger sister Olivia, who turned six on July 25, is more concerned about sharing cupcakes with members of her Team Greece squad.
The Shepherds are attending the camp direct from Baar, Switzerland, which is an hour outside of Zurich.
Father Chris moved to Zug to continue his stock-broking career, packing up his wife, Michelle, and five kids several years ago for the move.
Chris is a proud alumni of Herbert Spencer and New Westminster Secondary School who moved the family to Calgary four years ago for his work and two years ago to Zug.
This summer, as a family vacation, Chris sent the entire brood back for five weeks of summer in New Westminster, and one of the first things he did was make sure his two youngest registered for the now world-famous soccer camp.
"Alex really wanted to catch up with some of his old friends," said Michelle. "For Olivia, it's a chance to get out and play. She told her dad on the phone, 'I don't think I'm very good at soccer. I'm not winning.'"
Yes, Chris has stayed back in Zug for work, but his kids are having a ball of a time.
Olivia's coach, New Westminster Police Const. Lara Dewitt, went through the soccer school as a child and has volunteered for the past 20 years.
"I had no idea she had come from so far away," said Dewitt. "She's got a great attitude, probably one of our most enthusiastic players, and she's a hustler."
Dewitt enjoys working with the four-to-six-year-old kids because of their unbridled enthusiasm.
"There's so much energy," she said. "Sometimes, it's hard to control, but they are a lot of fun."
Across the field, Olivia's older brother is on Team Korea, coached by Const. Carmel Keenan and her husband, Brian Dorish.
Dorish is also surprised to hear how far Alexander came for the camp.
"That's neat," he said. "It's so cool to hear that and that's because you find out that people don't forget their roots. That's what makes this camp cool. You have people who know about this and have their kids come back even when they've moved away."
Dorish said Alexander has been very easy to work with.
"He listens well and his skills are pretty good," said Dorish. "We're all having a good time."
Alexander is happy to show off his new blue cleats - his mother, Michelle, said she couldn't buy a comparable cleat at a comparable price in Switzerland - and talk about his time back in New Westminster.
"I saw the Whitecaps win 2-1 (over San Jose on July 22)," he said.
Alexander has also attended soccer camps in Switzerland and he likes this camp more because the teams started playing semi-competitive games earlier in the schedule.
In Switzerland, the camps are more skillsbased, with games only occurring at the end of the camp.
Michelle is soaking in the sun with another daughter, Montana - her two other daughters, Mikala and Krista are elsewhere - while the two youngest Shepherd children frolic at the camp.
As Const. Bruce Ballingall makes an appearance, a buzz goes up around the 290 other children taking part in the camp.
Ballingall is his usual energetic self and the kids flock to him.
"It's not hard to have fun here," said Ballingall, who intends to retire next May from the police department. "That's why I keep coming back."
As the kids move from station to station, the most popular place is the Tim Hortons truck, where coffee and Timbits are flying out the back of the truck.
And also on Wednesday afternoon, the highlight was a speech from New Westminster native and current Ottawa Senators centre Kyle Turris.
On Thursday, the New Westminster Fire Department turned the fire hoses on the kids for an all-world water fight and on Friday, the tearful goodbyes will be exchanged between new and old friends.
As for Alex and Olivia, it's another two weeks in the Royal City before heading back to Switzerland via Italy.
"We're having a good time and the kids have enjoyed themselves," said Michelle.
And maybe next year, the kids will come back for another kick at the world-famous New Westminster Police soccer camp.