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Free San Bernardino football camp wraps up

July 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In San Bernardino, they wrapped up a five-day football camp for kids 10 to 18 years old Wednesday. The free camp was hosted by the Athletes for Life Foundation. They had some former National Football League stars helping out.Any kid 10 to 18 years of age in the Inland Empire with a heart for football is welcome to suit up at the free youth football camp at California State University-San Bernardino.

The camp not only teaches the fundamentals of the game to about 200 kids, but also teaches valuable life-learning skills. Former NFL greats are running drills. Eager youngsters, many of whom are underprivileged, are soaking it all up.

"There's something about the game of football and life because the game of football teaches you more life skills, I think, than any sport there is," said Greg Bell, founder of Athletes for Life. "You can't really understand the word 'perseverance' until you're a nose tackle and you're 100 pounds up against a center who's 200 pounds."

Bell is a former All Pro NFL running back. For the last four years, Bell has helped spearhead the effort here to teach youngsters how to succeed on the gridiron as well as off of it.

"You learn perseverance, you learn goal-setting, you learn determination, and you really just learn one of the best life skills, I think of all, is teamwork," said Bell.

San Bernardino County Sherriff Rod Hoops is in his second year volunteering time at the camp. He credits a football scholarship with helping him to rise above his humble beginnings. It's tough for him to talk about.

"Football is the one sport that really helped me out a lot in my personal life," said Hoops.

Even though the camp lost some funding due to the hard economic times, it remains free to the kids.

"We wanted to make sure that we made this free so it's not just kids that are at risk, or who kids who have the means, but also the kids in the middle," said Rialto City Councilwoman Deborah Robertson.


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