While Southern Maryland Athletic Conference athletes enjoy their final week of summer break before a new season commences, some football players from Westlake High School decided to help give back to the youth during a summer camp in July.
“I loved helping with the youth camp because [the kids] reminded me of myself and knowing that I can make them better gives me a great feeling inside,” Zacarri Walker said.
This summer was the second year the Westlake Wolverines football program hosted the Charles County Parks and Recreation Youth Football Camp.
“This camp was created two years ago when Austin Flowers from Parks and Recreation asked if we would like to host a youth football camp,” Westlake head football coach Tony Zaccarelli said. “The camp was held from July 8 to 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Westlake High School this summer and we had 21 participants ranging from age 6 to 14 years old.”
During the week, each camper got to participate in various drills and learn the skills needed to play different positions on the field.
“The purpose of the camp is to help develop fundamental skills at each position. The campers were put through different positional drills, footwork, reaction, hand-and-eye coordination, speed training and competitions,” Zaccarelli said. “We hope that each participant experienced a camp that was instructional, competitive, fun and can translate what they learned at camp going into their upcoming football seasons.”
Members of Zaccarelli’s team devoted some of their time off this summer to help run the camp by giving back and teaching the youth fundamental skills of the game.
“The reason why I decided to help out at the camp this summer was because I wanted to give back to the youth by sharing what I have learned over the years,” Jalil Singleton said.
On average, about eight players on the Westlake football team were able to help run the camp each day in addition to a core of players who were present all five days.
“Jeremiah Maxwell, Erick Hunter, Jalil Singleton, Quyton Holmes, Zaccari Walker and Christian Eldridge were at the camp each day to help lead drills,” Zaccarelli said. “Each day, we had players from different position groups come in to help teach fundamental drills for their position. Our goal as coaches is for our current players to give back to the community and to demonstrate and teach what they have learned to the youth guided by our current coaches.”
Hunter wanted to come help out at the camp each day because of his passion and love for teaching the children and being a Wolverine.
“Each position was assigned a day to come work out with the kids, but I took it upon myself to come everyday because of the joyful time the kids and I were having at the camp,” Hunter said. “I wanted to help run the camp because I wanted each and every kid to understand what it would be like to be a Wolverine. The drills we ran and stretching routines were all things that we do as Westlake student-athletes. Overall, my time with this youth camp was great and I’d more than love to do it again next year.”
Maxwell noted how he wanted to be a role model for the youth he was teaching as his older brothers were for him growing up.
“I had two older brothers that would work with me every day to help me get to where I am now, and I would like to become that role model for other kids and help them fulfill their dream of playing football to the best of their abilities,” Maxwell said.
Zaccarelli noted the program plans on running the camp in the future because of its success the past two summers.
“It’s a pleasure getting to work with youth athletes. It is even more fun talking with returning campers and hearing about their year and everything they did leading up to the camp,” Zaccarelli said. “It’s not all about football, but teaching them life lessons to continue to challenge themselves mentally and physically and not to give up when things get tough. I look forward to seeing these campers again next year.”