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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on July 2nd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 17 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 17

Panthers put on free football camp


WORK IT
Children from all over the Santa Maria Valley area attended Pioneer Valley High School’s free football camp from June 24 through 26.
PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

Rows of young football enthusiasts did jumping jacks while facing Pioneer Valley High School’s campus from the football field on June 26. Some of Pioneer’s football players shouted out another warm-up activity, and the kids performed accordingly.

It was the last day of a free football camp coached by the school’s team for neighborhood kids. The camp started on June 24, and trying to coordinate sprints, shuffles, and tackling dummies was the norm for three consecutive afternoons.

Varsity head coach Dan Ellington said the school has offered a camp every year since it opened, but it’s only in the last few years that Pioneer hasn’t charged a fee.

“That way there’s no limitations and everyone can come out,” he said. “I want to get as many kids out here as I can.”

He said there were more than 70 kids who attended the sessions this year. Some of them were brand new to playing the sport, and some were from the Santa Maria and Orcutt youth football leagues.

As high school kids reach out to a younger crowd, they’re also developing a greater connection to the community. Ellington said that’s a big reason for doing the camp. Plus, it’s an excuse to get his team together during a period of time when they aren’t allowed to practice.

“It’s a good time to do it,” Ellington said. “We want to advertise our football program and give back to the kids, and it helps our [players] because they’re the ones working with the kids.”