The Ramstein Youth Center, along with 18 other volunteers, hosted a football camp July 9 to 12 at Donnelly Park.
The camp was designed for skill levels from the ages of 9 to 17. The camp taught the participants football techniques while also placing an emphasis on proper workouts.
“This camp showed youngsters from ages 9 to 17 what it’s like to play football,” said Col. Mike Monson, head coach and 86th Mission Support Group commander. “There are kids who have been playing for many years and we have some who haven’t played before.”
Monson said teaching the athletes life skills was as important as bettering their football skills.
Monson and the rest of the coaching staff incorporated a different theme for each day’s practice to positively affect players’ attitudes.
“We have a different ‘word of the day’ each practice,” he said. “(Tuesday’s) word was ‘hustle.’ We are trying to teach the kids no matter what’s happening that you should be trying your hardest no matter what. We want them in that mindset even if there aren’t any coaches watching them.”
For one of the participants, the camp taught him what he needed to prepare for this year’s season.
“I picked up on a lot of fundamentals on offense and defense that’ll help me in the upcoming season,” said Robert Navarro, a Ramstein High School junior who has been playing football since his fourth grade year. “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork, working with guys you’ve never met. You build a special bond with wide receivers and quarterbacks, doing things like learning our timing.”
This year’s football camp gave Monson and others the chance to pass on their knowledge.
“I’ve been a youth coach for about six or seven years, so this is a chance for me to give back to the (KMC) and to the kids,” Monson said.