REEDSPORT — 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 on Wednesday night. “Now I just feel like a leader, it’s awesome.”
Johnny Brager, 12, runs down a pass during a youth football camp Wednesday at Reedsport High School.
This week, Carson and 13 of his teammates have 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. The camp started Tuesday and ends Thursday night.
“They get to interact with their peers and the high schoolers. And they look up to these guys,” said Reedsport head coach Boe Pickett. “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 are led through agility stations and position-specific drills that everyone gets to try. And on Wednesday night campers and counselors alike participated in tug-of-war that substituted a tire for a rope.
“We just want to emphasize fun,” said 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,” said Pickett.
The high school kids will get their own camp next week with Reedsport's Skills and Conditioning camp Monday through Thursday.
Practice will officially start for the Brave, and all Oregon high school fall sports, on August 19.
Meanwhile, North Bend and Coquille both have camps next week.
North Bend's Big Brother camp is Aug. 13-15 at the high school.
Students in third through eighth grade will work with the high school players and coaches in the 12th-annual event.
The camp runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. each day. Registration will be held from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 13.
The fee is $25 and all participants receive a camp T-shirt.
Meanwhile, Coquille's Red Devil Wing-T Football Camp is Monday through Thursday, Aug. 12-15, at the high school's lower practice field.
The cost is $25 and participants receive a camp T-shirt. All participants must provide proof of insurance.
The camp runs from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for students in eighth grade and younger and from 5 to 7 p.m. for high school players.
The camp is designed to introduce the players to the basics of the Wing-T offense in preparation for the 2019 season.