Youth Football Camp A Lasting Tradition In Rockledge
By Derek Suomi // July 17, 2012
Instructors Teach About Football, Life
BREVARD COUNTY • ROCKLEDGE, FLORIDA – Some traditions are important community events that evolve over time, while others are just plain fun. Rockledge’s annual “I Got Skillz” instructional football camp is a combination of both.
Now in its 14th year, the “I Got Skillz” camp was held July 14 at Rockledge Park and it was a morning of drills and exercises led by the Rockledge Youth and Cheerleading League coaches and special guest instructors.
This year’s gathering also featured the staff and players from the newly formed Florida Tech football program led by Head Coach Steve Englehart.
“We have some of our own players who have participated in this camp as kids so as we build our program we want to be as involved in the community as we can,” Englehart said.
Participants this year included 140 boys and girls ranging in age from 5 to 15 were split up into smaller groups. Those groups were then run through several training stations set up across the field over a two-hour period.
Each training station was led by a former or current college or high school player and focused on a specific skill set, such as footwork or catching passes.
After about 10 minutes, a whistle was heard and the groups moved quickly to their next station.
Participant ShaMar Washington, 8, attends Challenger 7 Elementary in Cocoa and was back at the camp for his third time.
He says the thing he likes most about the camp is the instructor’s insistence upon learning things correctly.
“I like my coach because he pushes us until we do it right,” Washington said.
The event is coordinated every year by Rockledge Youth Football president Michael Cadore, a former college and professional football player.
Cadore also serves as Community Services Coordinator for the Rockledge Police Department.
In a blur of activity, Cadore spent the majority of the morning doing everything from setting up the sound system to hanging banners and running equipment at the clinic.
“The goal of ‘I Got Skillz’ is not only teaching our kids the fundamentals of football, but also to learn to be able to give back to the community,” he said.
This is something Cadore does by example.
Other examples of shared responsibility and community could be seen in many aspects of the event.
Coach Tony Brown started playing in the Rockledge Youth Football League in 1977. Now retired from the Marine Corps after 14 years of service, Brown has been coaching youth football in Rockledge for 10 years.
“We are role models to these kids. We come out here and do this for them.” Anthony “Trai” Cadore, a Florida Tech football player and former Rockledge Youth Football League player.
“I always loved the coaches I had and wanted to be like them, to try to make a difference in my community and it’s a pleasure to come out here and work with the kids,” he said.
Florida Tech’s defensive back Steve Thomas, linebacker Mike Ferguson and defensive back Anthony “Trai” Cadore, all attended the “I Got Skillz” camp as children.
As the nephew of camp founder Michael Cadore, Anthony “Trai” Cadore said he learned the importance of giving back at an early age, playing in the youth league since the age of 4.
“We are role models to these kids, Anthony “Trai” Cadore said. “We come out here and do this for them.”
While camp instructors focused on helping participants develop football fundamentals, they also gave the kids advice about sportsmanship, teamwork, life skills, drug prevention and health awareness.
The event was sponsored by a host of local and national organizations including the NFL, PNC Bank and Coca-Cola, for which Michael Cadore was emphatic in expressing his gratitude.
“This camp is totally free of charge to our attendees and without our sponsors we would have not been able to do this camp this year,” he said.