Virginian-Pilot: “CSO camp coaches kids through annual football camp”

Chesapeake, Va. (The Virginian-Pilot) — The words integrity, discipline and work ethic were written on signs at the Colon L. Hall Stadium as kids from local schools attended the three-day STAR Football Camp organized by the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office.

Former coach Elisha “Cadillac” Harris, who was leading coaching drills, explained it was about more than the game of football.

“The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” he said of the program developed by Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan. The eighth annual camp was held from June 29 to July 1.

Harris is a former head coach at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach and at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, where he coached for 12 seasons. He said with so many kids growing up without fathers around, the need for mentors is more important than ever before.

“Coaches are now the new fathers. We mentor kids and help them change their perspective about what’s important in their communities,” he said.

About 150 kids aged 10 to 14 attended the free camp featuring scrimmages, drills and games ending with an awards ceremony and cook-out on the last day.

Khalil Manning, 11, a student at Oscar Smith Middle School, said he learned a lot from the camp.

“I like how they got us learning to play football,” he said. “When we play the game, they’ll tell us what we are doing wrong.”

Khalil has just recently started playing football.

“It’s a great way to exercise. I’ve learned a lot of stuff in three days,” he said.

Camren Pearson, 11, said he learned how to tackle safely at the camp. He said he would be at home if he wasn’t attending the camp.

Glenwood Ferebee, Indian River High School’s football coach, said the event helps build a sense of community for the participants.

“You have a lot of kids from different schools and different neighborhoods who come out in fellowship with each other and create a bond they will carry with them all the way through high school,” he said.

He said the focus of the camp was for the boys to grow up to be “good young men.”

“We preach positivity out here,” he said.

Ferebee said he was amazed at the high level skills demonstrated by children as young as 10.

O’Sullivan said the camp helps break up the long summer for kids in the city.

“It’s really nice to see the children out and about and being active,” he said. He suspected the alternative for many of the boys would be sitting indoors playing video games.

“I believe football is the greatest sport in the world,” he said. “It’s a team sport that’s not easy. There are struggles in each and every play. It’s a matter of how you gear up and keep going onto that next play, and that’s how it is in life.”

 

David Macaulay, maccaz17@hotmail.com

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