For the second consecutive summer, the Reeltown football team partnered with the Star Seeds organization to put on a youth camp for kids from across central Alabama. Reeltown coach Matt Johnson and Star Seeds director LD Bell got together to host 92 kids at Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium on Saturday and both coaches said it was a very successful day.
“Today was perfect,” Bell said. “We had kids come out here and work hard today. The main thing is about these kids having fun and striving for greatness. That shows us that we have a bright future ahead of us around here.”
The kids at the camp ranged from ages 4 to 12 and were from surrounding areas including Reeltown, Tallassee, Eclectic, Beauregard and Montgomery. The day started with each kid participating in different individual drills including the 40-yard dash and shuttle run.
The kids were separated into two age groups for offensive and defensive drills before being split into eight different teams for scrimmages to end the day on the field. The Reeltown coaching staff along with 15 players from the high school team helped with the drills and were assigned to teams to make sure the scrimmages went smoothly.
“I think the high school kids did a really good job of teaching them the basics of football and the importance of having a good attitude,” Bell said. “They’re teaching them the right way to play football. We got a lot done today.”
Bell said the turnout from the high school athletes says a lot about the football program at Reeltown. Johnson said all of his players understand it is about more than football and the end game is about serving.
“It’s a big deal for the program but it’s also a community thing,” Johnson said. “I’m sure it is a little bit about the history and the tradition of the Reeltown program but the community is just special here. The coaches and players are a big part of this community and we put a lot of effort into making that happen.”
Bell said the main goal in creating the camp was to bring the sport of football and the community together. He saw that happen Saturday when players and coaches got just as competitive as the campers during the scrimmages to end the day.
“It was really competitive today; I think you could see that,” Bell said. “We wanted to get everyone engaged and I think we did that. When we see kids out there having that much fun, it gets us excited and gets you feeling like you’re a kid again.”
Before the three-hour camp ended, the coaches gathered all of the campers inside the Reeltown locker room to talk about things bigger than football. Reeltown players Logan Hunt, Cameron Faison and Rasheed Wilson talked to the kids about working hard on and off the field to ensure you can have a chance at achieving future goals.
“That’s a huge priority for us,” Johnson said. “They can hear the coaches bark and coach all the time but to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, that’s different. That was three seniors who have taken three different paths to this point but they all understand the main thing and that’s not football.”
Both Bell and Johnson said they want to continue working together to put these camps on in the future. Reeltown wants to see interest in the sport continue to grow while giving more opportunities to kids who may not get them very often.
“A lot of people use these camps as a fundraiser or stuff like that but we didn’t want to charge anything,” Johnson said. “We wanted to be the ones to invest. Our main goal is to see kids who want to come out here, play some football and just have fun.”