Aug. 10, 2019 — The Siuslaw football team will be holding its 27th annual Youth Skills Football Camp for 1st through 12th grade beginning Monday, giving young children and future Vikings the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the sport — and older kids the chance to hone their skills or discover football for the first time.
“We’re making it a lot more of a community feel,” said new varsity football head coach Sam Johnson. “The camp has been going on forever, but over the last three years it’s been a little down, so we’re trying to get the excitement back. We’re not just trying to get it back to what it was, but even a little better than it used to be.”
Johnson explained that during the past few years, the overall program has become fragmented, with elementary, middle and high schools focusing on their own programs.
“It used to be just juniors and seniors that helped. This year, our full program is going out for every camp,” said Johnson, who will be running the camp with assistant coach and long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Fleming.
“It meant a lot to me when I was a little kid when the high school boys would come down. Instead of just making it an upperclassman sort of thing, we’re making it everybody’s responsibility. It’s pretty cool when our high school boys get to go out and help with the elementary school. I know coach Fleming will have a teacher’s aide as one of our guys — so, it’s getting the little kids to know them.”
The camp will focus mostly on the fundamentals that will create a foundation to build from — basic football movements, how to run a route, how to do the proper footwork, an obstacle course, and more.
“We’re not going to teach them to run the veer,” Johnson chuckled. “It’s just being able to go out with their friends and have fun before school starts.”
The camp will also act as a training ground for this year’s ball boys and girls, who will help assist the high school teams throughout the season. “It’s about getting those kids out and getting used to the players and being comfortable around them,” Johnson said. “There will be five or six little kids every Friday night.”
The camp beings this Monday, Aug. 12, with the following schedule:
• 1st and 2nd grade with coach Fleming will be held Aug. 12-15 from 3:15 to 4 p.m. each day
• 3rd through 8th grade with coach Johnson will be August 12-15, from at 4:15 to 6 p.m. each day
High schoolers with be with coach Johnson from Aug. 12-16, from 7 to 9 a.m.
The cost for the four-day camp is $10, which will include a camp T-shirt. A registration booth will be set up at the camp, which is held on the practice field behind the high school auxiliary gym.
“You can register last minute, we love that,” Johnson said. “We love seeing all the kids before they go back to school. It’s like having a summer check-in. It’s a really good group of people helping out this year, so it’s really nice having kids see familiar faces and a couple of new faces. It’ll be a really good time.”