Having attended football camps since third grade, incoming Reedsport junior Alex Carson is now enjoying the switch from participating in drills to helping lead the way.
“(Growing up) you just look up to them and it was always fun to play with the bigger kids,” said Carson last week. “Now I just feel like a leader, it’s awesome.”
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night, Carson and 13 of his teammates helped put on Reedsport’s Big Brother camp. The camp, taking place in the shadow of Ruppe Field, covered skills and fundamentals — with plenty of competitions in between — for a group of 16 third through eighth grade students.
Carson’s teammate, rising senior Kahnor Pickett, had a similar reflection about his changing role since he once attended similar camps.
“We were playing fly-up,” a game similar to 500 with one person throwing the ball while a group of individuals attempt to catch the ball “and I just remembered how I used to do that and how the high schoolers could always throw it so hard and you try to throw it back and it doesn’t make it,” said Pickett. “And I was thinking, ‘That’s me. That’s me now!’ It’s cool seeing them looking back to when I was them.”
For head coach Boe Pickett, this connection is what he sees as the most valuable part of camp.
“They get to interact with their peers and the high schoolers. And they look up to these guys,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing and they have fun. They see them like big brothers, somebody that they can try to emulate.”
After a brief warmup, campers were led through agility stations and position-specific drills that everyone got to try. And campers and counselors alike participated in a tug-of-war that substituted a tire for a rope.
“We just want to emphasize fun,” said Boe Pickett. “We just want to have fun.”
With that fun, Pickett, in his second year as head coach, is trying to create community buy-in into the Brave football program from a young age.
“We want these kids to understand (football) is not a clique-y thing, it’s the whole entire community. My goal for Reedsport is to shut down on Friday night and to be here and to have a packed house on the track because we can’t fit in the stands,” he said.
Practice will officially start for the Brave, and all Oregon high school fall sports, on August 19.
Reedsport's football team will practice from 4 to 7 p.m. each night.