On Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14, the Acreage Tackle Football League partnered up with the Seminole Ridge High School football program in hosting a summer football camp. Nearly 60 players from ages 5 to 15 gathered at Acreage Community Park to participate in the camp.
League Commissioner Richard Schneider is attempting to return the luster to a program that has existed in the community for more than 20 years. “The program was very prestigious out here for many years,” he explained. “A lot of people are very proud of that, and we’re attempting to bring the program to a higher standard.”
The camp is in its second year and saw an improvement from last year’s camp. Players were inspired by the coaching staff of the Seminole Ridge Hawks, who were invited to assist in the daily operations of the camp.
Both coaches and players from the high school squad assisted in running drills for offensive and defensive players to improve the players’ skill sets. The camp drew many first-time players with hopes of improving their techniques.
Since the camp is operated by many parent volunteers, Schneider explained that the program also provided a benefit for them as well. “We’re trying to get the parents to come out and enjoy it as well, and I think once we get that accomplished, it will be a much more successful program,” he said.
Parents typically volunteer in many facets of the league, from concession sales to coaching.
Schneider also noted that the coaches from the high school were a tremendous help to the camp, which has created a family-type environment in the Acreage football community.
“This is officially our second year with the Road to the Ridge Camp,” he said. “We consider everybody out here Hawks, and they call this league out here the Baby Hawks.”
Schneider added that the tradition is so strong, the collaboration with the high school program has extended to Friday nights during the fall season. League players wear their jerseys and are admitted free to watch Seminole Ridge home football games.
The league has adopted a credo, “To the world we are just a team, to each other, we are a family.” This was evident, as many of the current Hawk coaches started their careers with the Acreage Tackle Football League, including Hawks head coach James Parson.
“I coached out here for years, when I was an elementary school teacher,” said Parson, who was also present for the camp.
The football camp even serves as a means for the coaches to improve their own skills. It helps prepare them before the start of the high school season in the fall. “This helps establish a relationship between our coaches and the high school coaches,” Schneider said.
The league is also proud of its connection to the USA Heads-Up Football program. It is an active participant in that curriculum, which is designed to put the safety of the players first and bolster awareness for parents as well. The program helps educate players, parents and coaches on reducing the risk of concussions with improved tackling techniques. The organization accomplishes this through nationally endorsed standardized training.
For more about the league, visit www.acreageyouthfootball.com.