C4C football camp was an vision on paper from former NFL star, Keion Carpenter (a Baltimore native), to start and now it became a reality as he and his NFL buddies like, linebacker Bart Scott of the New York Jets, the Tennessee Titans’ tight end Alge Crumpler and center Jason Murphy (Baltimore), wide receiver Bryant Johnson (Baltimore) of the Detroit Lions, Peerless Price, former linebacker Tommy Polley (Baltimore), former wide receiver and Super Bowl champ of the Green Bay Packers, Antonio Freeman, and others, with local coaches hosted the first annual event at Towson University.
The camp C4C (Commitment 4 Change) this past week was more than your normal football camp with kids running around catching balls, it was about teaching life lessons such as leadership, unity, listening, gang violence and sportsmanship. “Everything in life should be toward your goals,” said Scott. “Your goal should be getting to college for an education because if professional sports isn’t something that happens for you, use the game to get an education to be a positive person in life and take it somewhere.” Seminars for the kids were given by guest speakers from the world of professional sports, entertainment and medicine in the morning at 8 a.m. and the kids were very responsive. “They could have turned to so many other things that are negative, but instead they were here for this camp to learn all they could about the game of football,” said Q. Parker of ‘112’ who is releasing his first debut album titled, “Real Talk with Q. Parker”, and his single, “Still So Sexy”, will hit the air waves in July. Q. Parker was offered an athletic scholarship to attend Clemson University, but a recording contract came his way and decided to take the deal because it was a chance of a lifetime in which it allowed him to have a 15 year career and he still received his education. “You could see the determination and the focus in those children eyes, man. They were hungry, ready to learn.”
At noon the kids broke for lunch and after that, the old kids went to have a S.A.T. prep class. “At these workshops and being told what’s really real out here and what’s going on outside of these walls out there at Towson is what they needed,” said Carpenter from the heart with passion. “The S.A.T. prep had information that these kids didn’t have no idea about.”
On the field, the younger kids from 9 to 12 years old worked on basis drills like catching and running, while the older children workouts were intense. The instructor had it set up like the NFL combine. “Give the kids a tool,” said Freeman. “If they are going to use football, let football take them where they need to be. Use football as a tool, don’t let football use you.” Broken up into section with defensive and offensive players doing exercises such as the 40 yard dash, long jump, different agility drills, catching drills, shuttles, and so forth. The biggest event was the seven-on-seven exercises at the end of the morning and afternoon activities. “The kids you see out here, the bulk of them aren’t the kids that sit in the house all day playing video games,” said Chris Endlich is a personal trainer for several professional athletes in the Timonium area and is the owner of, ’C-Fit Services, LLC. “The kids here are not given all the opportunities of the world. They got to find them. So, they are not sitting with every luxury possible. These kids are a different group, a different breed. They want it and there are athletes here.”
This was great for Towson University and the organizers of this camp (Bonita Robinson, executive director of C4C, Monica Wood, publicist and Scott Ripley, head coach of team C4C) to put an event like this with care and passion. Jeffery Myers a senior at TU who is a business administration of marketing major and interns at V.M.G. (Visionary Marketing Group), who met with Carpenter a year ago. “Keion wanted to have a summer camp and wanted to get out of the high school type of atmosphere,” said Myers. “I told him that I attend Towson University and the school is big on community out reach and programs to enhance the education of youth. We met with Jerry Hall (associate director of Towson University) and Brian Hill and it’s been a work of progress.”
Besides having celebrities at the camp, the local pillars, area high school football coaches were tremendous at well. James ‘Money’ Monroe of Lake Clifton/Eastern high school along with the offensive coordinator of the school who is the director of Gardenville football recreational program in Baltimore City for 20 years. Conrad Johnson of Cardinal Gibbons, Greg Trogdon of Milford Mill, Donald Davis of Calvert Hall, and Damon Yaffe of Boy’s Latin. Coach Yaffe is better known as the ‘Bulldog’ and is the co-host of, ‘Mark Viviano Show on 105.7 FM in Baltimore. “It’s a great experience because they (the NFL players from the area) came back to give back,” said Monroe. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to see pro players on an individual level where they can talk to them and know that they are human too and that helps them to have a dream. Dreams are important for our youth because our youth live in areas where dreams are not there. Now, they get to see someone who made their dreams come true and they know that the opportunities are here for them to go to school, get a quality education and make dreams come true.”
Carpenter is looking to expand the C4C football camp to be bigger and better because it was such of a success. Next year, the football campers will stay overnight at TU’s dormitory to give the kids a different experience of college with more activities, speakers and celebrities. This wasn’t your normal football camp with professional athletes coming out to shake hands, sign autographs and smile for the cameras. These athletes ‘participated full speed with passion in their football gear and Bryant Johnson was getting into a private workout while some of the kids studying him, unknowingly. “These guys have taken away from their families and their time because there very busy to come out and support my vision, my passion and a dream of mine, I’m speechless,” said Carpenter. “With the people of this magnitude to do this says a lot about their character and that’s the type of guys we want to deal with at this camp, character guys.” With more celebrities, the sponsorship money will beef up and Carpenter can give out scholarships for the camp. What was once a vision is now fulfilled and Carpenter is walking in his purpose. “That’s what I’m here for,” said Carpenter, emotionally. “I want to provide, through the Lord’s help, as much information and resources so they (the kids) can use everything to better themselves…everything up to this point has been phenomenal.”