Lessons from experience

Published 8:43pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Football camp offered this weekend

Kids from all over Suffolk between the ages of 5 and 15 will have the opportunity this weekend to learn how to develop as a football player and a person from some very credible sources. The semi-professional football team, the Suffolk Chargers and the Suffolk Style Shop will be hosting the Peanut City Football Camp on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Middle School.

Also involved in the camp will be the Inner City Athletic Association, which includes the Suffolk Steelers.

Chargers players like quarterback Walter Boykins will work with participants through a variety of drills, focusing on both offensive and defensive roles. By the time the camp is over, Boykins said he would like the young people involved to walk away knowing “how to properly and effectively play the sport of football, as well as being a good sport.”

Suffolk Chargers’ wide receiver Walter Boykins fights for more yardage during a game last season. Boykins will be among the players helping with the Peanut City Football Camp, set for this weekend.
Suffolk Chargers’ wide receiver Walter Boykins fights for more yardage during a game last season. Boykins will be among the players helping with the Peanut City Football Camp, set for this weekend.

He said that there would also be a focus on how to play the game safely, avoiding injuries that could cut short a career.

It is Boykins’ ability to relate to kids coming to the camp that has made him want to help out.

“When I was little playing Pop Warner for the Suffolk Steelers, there was a semi-pro team called the Hampton Roads Hurricanes,” Boykins said.

The Hurricanes played in a game that the young Steelers were able to watch.

“We all said we wanted to be like them,” Boykins recalls.

They also agreed that after all the good things that had been done for them, once they became adults they wanted to do the same for kids.

Boykins said young people should come out to the camp, not only because they will learn about football but also because “they’ll learn from great players that used to be like them when they were small.”

Chargers cornerback Andre “AJ” Harper said he is looking forward to being an encouragement to campers, illustrating that there is football after high school even if they cannot play in college.

Participants will also be taught by the dedicated coaches of the Inner City Athletic Association. The camp will serve as a great chance for ICAA President Robert Faulk and the other coaches to see what talent is out there as practices for the fall season begin on Aug. 1.

But Faulk, too, explained how the camp will benefit Suffolk’s youth, in general.

“We’re getting kids off the street,” he said. “We’re giving them a chance a lot of other people wouldn’t give them.”

“I know growing up, there weren’t a lot of camps available for inner-city youth,” said Sha’ka Miller, King’s Fork High School offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

In addition to the Chargers, Faulk recruited Miller to help at Saturday’s camp, teaching football and speaking to the kids about right living.

Miller, who is also the career and technical education teacher at King’s Fork, plans on emphasizing the importance of education to the campers.

He cited the value of these camps in that, among other things, they give participants “mentors to look up to and to know that whatever they aspire to do, whether it’s athletics or academics, it’s possible.”

Registration is $6 per child, and the fee includes lunch and a certificate of participation. The first 30 youths to register will receive a free T-shirt.

For those that cannot afford to pay the fee, Faulk said, “We don’t let money stop us from working with the kids.”

“We don’t ever turn anybody away,” ICAA treasurer David Baker said.

Those seeking to register can do so on the last remaining registration date, July 25, in front of John F. Kennedy Middle School, from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information, call Robert Faulk at 339-2052.

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