Youth served at Callaway youth camp
Published 1:59 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
When Jabari Smith was a budding young football player, he would come to the Callaway High practice field for one day each summer for a youth camp.
Smith returned to the camp on Tuesday morning, but his role was a different one.
Smith, who is a junior linebacker for the Cavaliers, was one of the instructors during the Pete Wiggins youth camp.
Smith said it’s special to be able to help out at a camp that has been a part of his life for nearly a decade.
“It means a lot, especially knowing I went to this camp when I was younger,” Smith said. “It was a lot of fun seeing the kids working hard.”
The camp was created by Wiggins, who is heading into his 14th season as Callaway’s head coach.
When Wiggins started the camp nine years ago, he made it a point to involve his players, and they’ve have been a big part of the camp ever since.
On Tuesday, nearly 20 Callaway football players were on the field running step-for-step with the campers, leading them with enthusiasm and energy.
“The old guys come out, and they enjoy it,” Wiggins said. “I think it’s team-building Guys like Keiondre Jones, Tyrique Andrews, and Keyshawn Cameron, they really had a good time today, and those kids had a good time with them.”
Andrews, who is rejoining the team this season after not playing the past two years, was one of the most enthusiastic instructors. He was constantly encouraging the campers, and his smile was as wide as any of the young people he was coaching.
“It was very fun,” Andrews said. “I like seeing their energy, and seeing them getting hyped up when they make a good play.”
During the course of the three-hour camp, Andrews did his part to make sure the energy stayed at a high level.
He figures that was a worthy lesson for the campers.
“When you get down, you’ve got to find some energy and get everybody up,” Andrews said. “You make the next play, and you keep going.”
Wiggins added that he was “really proud of our team.”
“I’m proud of the young people that came out today, and of the mothers and daddies,” he added. “It was an awesome day.”
Wiggins’ hope is that the campers not only have fun, but learn some things about the sport.
“We want the kids to come out and enjoy the day, and hopefully pick up a skill,” Wiggins said. “It’s also about (the campers) getting to know our kids, and getting to know our coaches, and seeing what a great family we have at Callaway High School.”
The day ended with the players scrimmaging for about 20 minutes after they were divided into teams according to age group.
The coaches and players got into the act, serving as quarterbacks for the various teams.
“I think the coaches take it pretty serious, too,” a grinning Wiggins said. “I saw several of them out here warming up before we started. They wanted to win.”
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