That’s the idea behind the Kids & Pros football camp which is taking place at Shorter University’s Ben Brady Field. The four-day camp concludes today.
Kids & Pros Inc. is a non-profit organization that tries to develop players through character development and hosts camps in Georgia, Virginia, Florida and Tennessee. Kids & Pros was created by former Atlanta Falcons players Bobby Butler and Buddy Curry. Both Butler and Curry were in attendance in Rome at the camp.
“We’ve had a really good first year,” said Curry. “The reason we do (four days) is they get better at the drills. The more they do it the better they get which brings about confidence.”
Joining the duo were former NFL stars and locals Ken Irvin, Todd Wheeler and Nat Hudson. Also attending were Shorter head football coach Phil Jones, assistant head coach Tim Mathis and graduate assistant Calvin Gibson.
They were joined by Floyd Hotch, Robert Moore, Tawambi Settles, Perry Kemp, Jonathan Price and Eric Westmoreland.
Jones said the kids were impressed with the fact that some of the former NFL players were from the same town they live in.
“It’s been a good turnout,” said Jones. “It’s exciting to see so many kids that are excited to see the pros. It’s really significant to see that some of them are Romans — to see what they accomplished. Any time you can help kids understand life through football it’s good.
Camp director and former Armuchee athlete Clint Thacker said the community played a large role in making sure as many kids as possible could attend the camp.
“We went around to some of the businesses and raised donation money,” said Thacker. “We were able to sponsor 80 percent of the kids that came to camp. The community supported this camp.”
The money went to sponsor children from the Boys & Girls Club.
Thacker said the camp focused on how sports relates to life.
“Everything that sports teaches us we can relate through life,” said Thacker. “That’s the kind of things we try to instill in the kids. We talk to them in the mornings, then we have some of the players at the end of the day give a life story — not about how much money they made or how many cars they bought, but things that people did for them and stories about how they reached their goals.”
The camp will conclude today with an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. The camp’s sponsors will also be honored.