Paul Khoury, right, instructs players Tuesday during a speed camp at Just For Kicks.

TRAVERSE CITY -- Snow slowed traffic Tuesday and brought area schools to a screeching halt.

But that didn't stop a number of area youth from working on getting faster.

Fourteen kids -- ranging from upper elementary to high school seniors -- attended Paul Khoury's first Speed Improvement and Conditioning Camp at Just for Kicks.

"I'm very happy with the kids who showed up on a snow day," Khoury said. "That shows work ethic, which is where we want to start. Everybody did well."

The camp will run every Tuesday and Friday through June.

"It's for everyone," Khoury said. "It's horizontal speed, vertical speed and change of direction. That's all sports."

While the camp brought out a number of football players Tuesday, there were also a number of athletes in attendance who will never hit the gridiron.

Jennifer Marsh, an 11-year-old fifth-grader from St. Francis, was one of those athletes.

"It's a little bit different," Marsh said. "All of it's new. It's pretty tough because I haven't done it before."

Marsh runs tracks and cross country, plays basketball and dances. She said improving her speed would help her in all her sports.

With Khoury's background in football, the camp was also beneficial looking to make progress for next fall.

"I just want to improve my quickness and my speed," St. Francis junior Jon Buday said. "I've been lifting for a couple of weeks now. (But speed), it's a huge part of it."

Khoury played football at Central Michigan University before seeing action with the Oakland Invaders and Michigan Panthers of the now defunct USFL.

"There's an interest because I was a player and I understand what it takes to be an athlete," Khoury said. "I understand how competitive it is and how important speed is -- at the high school and college levels."

Through a longtime friendship with former Detroit Lions linebacker Scott Kowalkowski, Khoury learned from a number of strength and conditioning coaches, including longtime Chicago Bulls' coach Al Vermeil and Olympic sprinting coach Charlie Francis.

"With those guys as consultants, basically I was trained in speed training and Olympic lifting," Khoury said. "Those are areas everyone really needs to improve."

Since then, Khoury has developed a program and been working with athletes. One of his students was his nephew, Rocko Khoury, a freshman on the football team at the University of Michigan.

"Rocko went through this," Khoury said. "He starting coming over when he was in sixth grade. It's a progression."

The camp is open for any students in the upper elementary grades through high school. Cost for each session is $10.

"The whole justification behind this is for everyone to be able to do it and make it affordable for everybody," Khoury said.

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