Suffolk Chargers players work with participants of the Peanut City Football Camp last weekend at the JFK Sports Complex. Chargers players in front, from left: Floyd Clark and Carlos Rodriquez; Charger in back: Daryl Greene. (Angela Harper photo)
Suffolk Chargers players work with participants of the Peanut City Football Camp last weekend at the JFK Sports Complex. Chargers players in front, from left: Floyd Clark and Carlos Rodriquez; Charger in back: Daryl Greene. (Angela Harper photo)

Kids charged up at camp

Published 9:43pm Friday, August 2, 2013

When dealing with students who are attentive and excited to learn, teaching can be fun.

Last weekend’s Peanut City Football Camp turned out to be a pleasure for both the campers and their instructors from the semi-professional football team, the Suffolk Chargers.

Many of the campers involved are members of the Suffolk Steelers, who play in the Inner City Athletic Association, and the event served as a perfect prelude to their first practice of the fall season, which took place Thursday.

Robert Faulk, president of the ICAA, which helped put on the camp, could not help but notice a major sign the youths were enjoying themselves on Saturday.

“They didn’t want to go home,” he said.

The event was designated to run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but the campers managed to push it out to until 3 p.m.

“The Suffolk Chargers stayed out there as long as the kids wanted them to,” Faulk said.

Suffolk Chargers defensive back Andre "AJ" Harper helps 5-year-old Damarrion Madison get prepared in a flag football game during the Peanut City Football Camp last weekend at the JFK Sports Complex. The kids took well to the Chargers players and want them to do more camps in the future. (Angela Harper photo)
Suffolk Chargers defensive back Andre “AJ” Harper helps 5-year-old Damarrion Madison get prepared in a flag football game during the Peanut City Football Camp last weekend at the JFK Sports Complex. The kids took well to the Chargers players and want them to do more camps in the future. (Angela Harper photo)

He estimated about 60 campers between the ages of 5 and 15 turned out.

Chargers quarterback/wide receiver Walter Boykins said he and the other camp leaders started campers out with calisthenics and stretching. They then took them through different drills, gave them pointers about individual positions and ended up organizing them for two 7-on-7 games of flag football.

Defensive specialist and fullback Daryl Greene of the Chargers said what gave him the most pleasure from teaching at the camp was just being around the kids, “making them smile, giving them somebody to look up to.”

The speed, size and status of the Chargers’ players seemed to capture and hold the campers’ attention. Faulk said while ICAA had held camps before in partnership with high schools, this was “the first time we’d ever done one with a semi-pro (team).”

The Chargers had a successful first season this spring, going 6-4 overall, including a playoff win. They had eight players selected to the Atlantic Coast Football Alliance all-star game, where a scout from the New York Jets was present, and Chargers defensive back Ricky Taylor was named Most Valuable Player.

Fellow defensive back Andre “AJ” Harper said he was peppered with questions from the youths about playing football, and when he was instructing them about the game, he noticed he was able to help them by actually demonstrating the skills himself.

And he was pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm, because they were hungry for more.

“They actually wanted us to come out again,” he said.

Faulk made clear his perspective on the event: “The Suffolk Chargers came out and ran a great camp.”

“We’ll do another one with them,” he said.

Harper expressed enthusiasm of his own at the possibility, saying if it happens, “I’d be looking forward to it.”

Today at the JFK Sports Complex, the ICAA will be holding fall season registration from 8 to 10 a.m. for interested children ages 5 to 15. The cost is $100 for returning players, $125 for new players and $85 for anyone living in public housing. Registration is also open next week, Monday-Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Also today at JFK, the Chargers will hold a practice from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for current players and an open tryout for players 18 and up who are interested in joining the team. The fee to try out is $35, and interested parties should bring whatever equipment they have.

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