High temperatures and humidity didn’t deter the North Stokes Jr. Vikings annual football and cheer camp this summer.
Chad Dodson, president of the Jr. Vikings program and the Surry County Little League Organization said the group had over 70 kids participate the first night and throughout the rest of the four-day camp.
“We brought the kids together and talked with them and told them what to expect. Then, we broke them up in their separate squads and they’ve been going at it having fun,” Dodson said. “It’s important to bring the kids out here at a young age to get them adapted to football and teach them the fundamentals so they can grow and develop better skills. When they actually get to middle school and high school then they just proceed right with it. It takes a lot of the teaching off those coaches so they can actually work on fine tuning.”
The camp focused on different drills such as side stepping and tackling dummies.
“We try to get a lot of the safety stuff first like how to tackle and how to protect yourself when you’re doing it,” Dodson said.
The program is divided into three squads of seven and eight year olds, nine and 10, and 11-13.
Last year the Jr. Vikings nine and 10 year olds went undefeated taking home the SCLLF Super Bowl Championship honors at the end of the season.
“They did a great job. We bought them super bowl rings and they were thrilled,” Dodson said. “Just about all of them have come back. A small part will still be on that team and the others moved up to varsity.”
Of course, Dodson hopes to see that same success again but is also banking it will translate to the local middle and high school level.
“What I’d like to see is good communication from the schools so that we’re all on the same page so we can teach the kids what they need to learn at this age and it follows them all the way through.”
Dodson believes the camp tradition continues to instill a love of football in the young athletes.
“Football is a dying sport. A lot of people are afraid of concussions. We’re taking all the precautions that we possibly can to make sure we have great equipment in place, a good coaching staff, and we’re teaching the kids how to do things the right way so we don’t see injuries,” he said.
Dodson credits volunteers and coaches for the program’s success over the years.
“We’re in such a small community and these people out here helping eat, breathe, and sleep football. They also love the kids so it’s a great combination.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.