In a day and age where EVERYTHING costs something, it’s a rare occasion when you come across anything that is for free – there’s always some sort of catch but at the 5th Annual Marcedes Lewis Football Camp, the only catch was to have fun and play football.
Marcedes Lewis of the Jacksonville Jaguars hosted over 500 kids this past weekend at a FREE football camp at his high school Alma mater, Long Beach Poly High. “It’s all for the kids, it’s all free!” said Marcedes when asked about the camp.
Now this wasn’t some camp where Marcedes just lent his name for a small (or large) fee and made a scheduled appearance– this was HIS camp, one where he was out running drills with the kids, one which he personally dug into his own wallet to help fund (along with the help of some amazing donors), and one where he enlisted the help of some of his NFL friends like Andre Branch of the Jags and Tiquan Underwood of the Tampa Bay Bucs. Today, they weren’t NFL stars; they were coaches and at times, the biggest kids on the field.
The weather was perfect as the campers ran out onto the field in a single file line with the smallest campers grinning from ear to ear as they filed into their respective age groups ready to start the day. The older campers were more stoic and ready to absorb as much information possible from the coaches with hopes to one day be where Marcedes Lewis is, in the NFL.
As the drills began, you heard coaches yelling out words of encouragement and while this was a day of fun, it was a day of business, football business. Coaches working the different drills maintained the same energy from start to finish, many breaking a sweat from doing the drills with the campers to ensure that they were using proper technique.
Marcedes brought out some of the best coaches around and the instruction that they provided to the campers, was second to none. One could take this caliber of instruction and quality of camp and charge top dollar but no, it’s completely free to all campers- all 500 plus of them. Why would someone pass up the money and make the camp free?
“I always said that if I was ever on a platform to do it, that I’d do it, so now we’re here. There’s nothing more exciting than being able to see everyone out here smiling and having a good time. I just want them to focus on football and not having to worry about having to pay.” – Marcedes Lewis
The camp ran so smoothly from start to finish and while one wants to give all the credit to Marcedes and the fact that the camp is going on its fifth year so it seems to run like a well-oiled machine, some credit must go to his mother, Yvonne Withers. Watching from afar, she is obviously the “Camp Mom” – she knows campers and parents by name, she’s running cleats out to the field, she’s making sure that everyone is safe- she does it all. You can tell that she loves this camp, she loves these kids, and she loves her son. Everyone here loves him and what’s not to love?
Coach Rick, one of the coaches for the 8 year olds, said “Marcedes is great! Where else can you get a free camp? What he’s doing for these kids is just amazing!”
There’s a Chinese Proverb that states “If you want happiness for a lifetime- help the next generation” so with that being said, Marcedes Lewis, you my friend, deserve several lifetimes of happiness. Speaking for the campers – we look forward to the 6th Annual Marcedes Lewis Football Camp.
–By Mercedes Lindsay
Follow @MissDCMercedes @PlayerInsiders
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