Free football camp attracts hundreds

Posted on 28 July 2011 by LeslieM

Braylan Fleming, 11, of Deerfield Beach, throws a pass under the watchful eye of Coach Fred Davis during the 11th annual Crockett Foundation Life Skills free football camp in Pompano Beach. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Zack Crockett and his brother, Henri, were back at it again – doing what they do best. The two Blanche Ely grads, and former NFL football players, were at the 4-fields complex in Pompano Beach recently hosting their annual free football camp.

The 11th annual Crockett Foundation Life Skills free football camp in Pompano Beach attracted 500 youths ranging in age from 6 to 16 from throughout South Florida.

“We are just going to keep pressing forward and passing the torch to the young guys coming out so they see how we do it and then they keep it going,” said Zack Crockett, 38, who spent 13 years in the NFL and is now a scout for the Oakland Raiders.

“We are just trying to help the kids and let them know they have a chance to do great things, as long as they take care of the grades and let their athletic ability take care of itself.”

Youngsters took part in everything from running 40-yard dashes to obstacle courses. They were schooled in running, catching, throwing, and then Zack Crockett pulled them aside and spoke to them about the importance of school and being a role model. The day ended with a 7-on-7 tournament.

Crockett said the kids got free food, T-shirts and customized football mouth pieces provided by TAPOUT. They also had an opportunity to play video games in a truck.

Among the other athletes volunteering was Isaac Bruce, 38, who spent 16 years in the NFL for the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers.

“We were goal-minded and one of those goals was to play in the NFL,” Bruce said. “The mentality has changed, and that is why people like Zack and Henri and Al (Harris) all come back to remind them. I think us being here gives them hope and that is an important factor. We teach them faith.”

Bruce said their main focus is to make sure they become productive citizens.

“I think it is a no-brainer for us to be here because we know we are doing this for the kids,” Bruce added. “We want to try and build character. We didn’t have anything like this when I was growing up, not to this extent. We did have guys from the Dolphins, who would come and talk to us at the high schools sometimes, but, here, we get their full attention. They get our full attention.”

Henri Crockett, 36, a 1992 Ely grad, said they have contributed more than $500,000 to the community through their foundation, although they have only been able to generate about $40,000 in contributions. They have two reading centers for local youths. Crockett said their mother, Sylvia Ann Hall, instilled good family values.

They will also host the 3rd Annual Family and Health Community Festival this Saturday, July 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pompano Citi Center, 1955 N. Federal Hwy. in Pompano Beach.

“We have fun each and every year,” Zack Crockett said. “The kids learn and they see different guys each year. The message we keep giving these kids is obviously working because they listen and they keep coming back.”

For more information visit their website at www.crockettfoundation.org.

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