An upcoming flag football experience will give local youth a chance to hone their skills and learn firsthand from some of Turlock’s most-talented high school athletes.
The Pitman High School football program is partnering with Next Level Sports to host a coed flag football camp for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, which will begin in mid-May and run through mid-June. PHS varsity football head coach Lance Weckerle said he wanted to partner with Next Level Sports, based out of San Mateo, after seeing the impact their camps and leagues in a variety of sports have had on children from California to Texas.
“When I saw how rooted they were in community focus and the value they provide to the youth in that community, I knew it was something I needed to bring to our community,” Weckerle said.
The flag football camps will consist of two, two-hour sessions each Sunday throughout its duration, with four teams per session. Each session’s first hour will be spent working on basic fundamental movement patterns and skills, Weckerle said, and then the teams will play a flag football game during the second hour.
Teams will be formulated in grade-based divisions and games will encourage a balance between healthy competition and player development. All participants will be coached by PHS athletes, giving both the young players and their high school counterparts a chance to benefit from the program in different ways.
“For the high school athlete, this is a great opportunity to give back to the community that has provided for them. It’s a great mentorship role, and perhaps for some athletes, will bridge the gap from playing to eventually coaching,” Weckerle said. “For the youth participants, it is a great opportunity for them to learn from someone they idolize and want to be like. It is also an opportunity for us as coaches and parents to step back and watch the kids have fun.”
Weckerle hopes the Next Level Sports camp can provide kids with exercise and give them the opportunity to play a game they love. He also looks forward to watching student-athletes coach younger versions of themselves, he said, all while giving back to the community.
“I also hope this program helps jump-start sports for our local youth,” Weckerle added. “So many kids lost a year of physical activity and skill development, so hopefully this is an opportunity to help bridge the gap towards a better tomorrow.”
Pitman football’s Next Level Sports camp will begin on May 16, and those interested in participating should register before May 9. Just over 20 students have signed up to play so far, Weckerle said, and registration will close when eight teams of 14 athletes are filled.
To register, visit https://www.nextlevelsports.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1021726