Elementary school teacher Kelly Blake stumbled upon C.H.A.M.P. Camp last summer and on a whim registered her 10-year old son, Benjamin, with an ironic hope that he would not have a good time.
“I didn’t particularly want him in football, and thought if he went to this camp he would find out that it’s a lot of hard work and it help him realize it wasn’t really his thing. But it didn’t turn out that way…the first day I picked him up from the camp and he said it was so fantastic,” said Blake.
“It was one of the highlights of his summer, that’s for sure,” she added. “He definitely wants to go to camp again this year.”
Blake was drawn into a camp where her son got to spend two days being physically active and learning life skills, and it didn’t cost her a cent.
“I had packed him a little cooler full of food and drinks and stuff and he didn’t have to use any of it because everything was provided—every drink he needed, all the food, everything,” Blake said. “I thought it was phenomenal.”
Since she hadn’t paid for the camp, Blake was surprised to find current and former collegiate and NFL players, coaches, and respected community leaders leading the no-cost camp.
“We really felt like he was getting the real deal,” she said. ”I think it really made an impact on Benjamin and I think he was really impressed with the camp.”
Benjamin was interviewed by a local TV station after the camp and asked about his experience and what he learned.
“On his little TV interview he said, ‘I used to worry about winning, but now I realize that’s not the important thing—the important thing is doing your best and being part of a team,’” his proud mother recalled.
Though Blake hoped her son would decide to spend his time playing other sports, she is incredibly grateful for the experience her son had at C.H.A.M.P. Camp.
“What they taught him are values and principles that you can take to other parts of your life—it doesn’t have to be professional sports. I think that was a really good thing for the kids to see too, that you can be successful people who have positive experiences in sports and use that in other parts of your life,” she said.