Brunswick High’s football team is in the middle of its annual youth summer camp as staff, players and campers all seem to be enjoying the summer break.
The Pirates put on a three-day camp where kids ranging from seven years old and up can come out, learn some fundamental football and most importantly, have fun.
Head coach Sean Pender had a smaller group, but that didn’t stop them from working on both offense and defensive drills, pushing the campers mentally through an obstacle course, and having fun playing football with the current football players.
Pender brought his two youngest daughters out to be the water girls for the day but when Peyton,11, and Morgan,7, saw how much fun the other campers were having, they joined in and did all the drills.
They even showed up the boys on a few of them, and Pender couldn’t have been more proud. He videoed each drill they did and couldn’t stop smiling at how much fun his girls had doing football drills.
Peyton finished the obstacle course in 54 seconds, putting her at the top with the other older boys. As for Morgan, she completed her obstacle course in a minute finishing respectably with her age group
However, the entire time, Pender had a smile on his face. The head coach looked like he enjoyed being out there with these kids.
“I enjoy this tremendously it’s so much fun,” Pender said.
The kids start the morning out with a film session before hitting the field, where they begin warmups and jump into the fun stuff. Pender had various stations set up for small groups to work on different football drills. After that, Pender and his offensive staff took the kids through four different offensive fundamental drills.
There were offensive line, running back, wide receiver and quarterback stations. Campers learned the proper technique while coaches challenged them.
After a quick water break, the campers got a feel for defense. Pender’s defensive staff set up a defensive line, a linebacker and defensive back station so the campers could learn those fundamentals.
Campers stopped for a quick popsicle break before the obstacle course. The staff set up an older kid course, and one for the younger kids. They challenged each camper to push through the pain and heat to see how fast they could do the course. Coaches kept the players time, giving a competitive edge to it as well.
Pender spoke about how much he enjoys putting on this kind of camp and how it’s teaching some valuable traits at an early age.
“It’s such a great sport of what it teaches the youth, not only the physical play aspect of it like with NFL Play 60, but all the mental stuff we also teach,” Pender said. “It’s about overcoming adversity and being able to do struggles and understand how to push yourself to different limits, and I think we’re missing that a lot of times. This lets them come out here and be kids, but at the same time, learn these valuable traits.”
Pender also talked about how having his current players out there to help build lasting relationships with these younger kids.
“With our players out here and being able to interact with these kids, yeah the coaches are instructing, but they’re really enjoying coming out here with the older guys because they watch them on Friday nights,” Pender said. “They start building a little bit of a relationship with them, and it’s funny how it builds on and adds. Like when our kids go to the elementary schools and read to them, then they have this little connection because he was the leader of my little group I was in, and then they build that little connection with them, and it’s fun.
“So it’s definitely a way for us to give back to the community and I absolutely enjoy for our coaches to go out and to be able to put on something like this for them.”
Campers receive a shirt on the final day for participating in the camp. However, throughout the three days, Pender has the team’s drone out there filming and says that they plan on putting together a highlight reel for the campers to enjoy at the first game of the season.
“All the kids that did the kids camp, they’ll get shirts today. If they wear it to the first game, they’ll get in free,” Pender said. “Then they will come onto the field for pregame and then we will play highlights of kids camp with music over it while they’re out there. So everyone can see it and hopefully it’ll help promote it for next year.”
While the camp was smaller in numbers, Pender talked about how this is this their way of giving back to the community that gives so much to them.
“When you look at how much the community usually does for us it’s huge, and that’s just part of what we’re trying to do and develop in these young men and trying to develop them into a complete athlete,” Pender said. “We always talk about developing physically, mentally and spiritually and that spiritual aspect of it is the spirit of the sport and what it’s about and giving back to the community is a big part of that.”