Harrells Christian Academy held the school’s first free football camp on July 20 for the children in their community.
The HCA football camp was quite successful as they had 40 campers show up from all different age groups for the lower, middle and high schools. Even, with a good turnout, first-year football coach Jason Arnette said he still wants those numbers to go up in future camps.
“I just want to do something for the kids. There isn’t a lot of chances to go to a football camp around here, so I just really wanted to give them an opportunity to do a summer camp,” said Arnette. “Though our numbers this year were good I want those numbers to continue to go up.”
Arnette, along with his assistant coaches and about 15 of his varsity players, put on the camp, working with the kids. They ran drills with them for an hour per age group to help them get back into football. Arnette is also hopeful that this football camp will build the HCA football team back up, specifically the junior varsity whose numbers have been falling off recently.
“The J.V. numbers have been falling off. Some of that may be because of the constant coaches changes we’ve had. I believe I’m the fifth coach Harrells has had in 10 years,” said Arnette. “I think not having someone around for long periods of time has led to some of the J.V. decay, but I’m trying to get that built back up and this camp is the first step.”
Though this year’s camp was just for children in the HCA community, Arnette doesn’t want to stop there as he has plans to open up the camp to youngsters in all counties in the future.
“This year it was only open to HCA, but it’s my goal to open it up so that all the kids are welcome, no matter which school they go to, be it Clinton, Midway or Hobbton … it doesn’t matter which school in the county,” the coach stated.
With any football camp, players for the future also might be spotted, especially since all the participants in the camp were from the HCA schools this year.
“It’s hard to say, because a lot these kids were so young and you never know where they could end up going in the future, but I will say that I saw some potential for talent in our future from some of our middle school kids,” said Arnette.
Arnette is doing everything he can to promote the HCA camps, with big expectations for it being a reoccurring camp open to all of Sampson County.
“We’re doing everything we can to put the word out about this camp — we made camp flyers, put it on social media and we want it in the newspaper,” said Arnette. “We even gave out free T-shirts and had free food for the kids that showed up this year. Anything we can do to promote the camp and get it out there, because I really want this camp to grow and give these kids a great chance to go to a camp for years to come.”
Reach Sports Editor Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.