Change is inevitable. However, for the last 11 years, there has been one constant around this time of year – the Myles Brinson and JR Adams Fundamentals of Football Camp, which taps into a multitude of lessons that can be used on and off the playing surface. The Gilroy summer football mainstay took place last week and completed another successful year, captivating campers and volunteers alike. And that may never change.
“I found a new love for this sport,” said 12-year-old camper Tyler Fite.
Every year, the structure stays nearly the same. The campers show up, warm-up, learn drills, participate in different groups with fellow campers and at the end of the day, they receive awards and listen to a special guest speaker.
“Out here I feel happy and pumped,” Fite said about what he gained through his experience this year.
It’s those individual experiences that fuels founders Marlowe and Sherida Brinson and KC Adams in their efforts to organize the camp year in and year out. And the 11th edition ran as smooth as ever.
“We were able to put the camp together with our eyes closed,” said Sherida Brinson. “Usually we stress about it around December and January, but this year we didn’t even think about it until April and May.”
The camp also stayed true to keeping the inspirational atmosphere that most participant’s experience every year. Many campers that come comment on the welcoming attitude of the coaches and the fun they have meeting new campers.
“This camp is awesome because you get to meet new friends and have a good time,” said 8-year-old Larry Reimal.
The camp’s structure maintains a family-oriented atmosphere all the while teaching young children the basics of the game of football. The camp revolves around positive reinforcement with daily awards like the “Bad Dude,” and “I See You Boy” – which came in the form of a black camp shirt this year – at the end of every day. Campers that receive these awards are chosen by the coaches for their outstanding positive attitudes and giving 100-percent effort.
“I was working really hard,” said Charileen Pauneto. “I did everything really fast and I did everything they wanted me to do.”
Pauneto, age 6, was one of the only girls to receive one of the awards this year, and she received it the first day of camp.
Adams and his brother Marlowe Brinson also recite positive chants with the campers throughout the week. Marlowe Brinson usually leads the chants such as “Coaches talk” with the campers responding “Nobody talks!” These forms of positive structure teach campers respect while done in a loving manner.
“Family comes first here; the unity of our two families especially,” Adams said. “We want to teach the kids that everyone you meet is your family now and you treat them like family. Family values is the name of the game.”
Adams said it is the campers’ personal stories that validate his family’s work at the camp.
One such story moved Adams close to tears. On Friday, Adams said had a father come up to him and tell him how grateful he was that his son participated. The father of the camper told Adams that he works three jobs and it becomes very hard to spend quality time with his son. He said that after every day of camp this year, his son constantly came home ecstatic, which was the happiest he had seen his son in a long time. He told Adams that on Friday morning he got up at 5 a.m. to go to work and found his son up at that time in the bathroom washing his shirt for picture day that day. He then called in sick to all three of his jobs and spent the day with his son and took him to his last day at camp.
“I think that these kids feel the love from not only each other meeting new friends and watching their parents (watch them), and watching what the coaches are giving them. These kids are blessing the coaches because, the kids being themselves, is what brings the love,” Sherida Brinson said.
The camp thrives off the experiences of the campers and donations by outside sources. The last two years, the Nike Factory Store has sent three employees to volunteer and also donated equipment. The camp also receives a lot of local support of businesses in the area. Donations are taken year round and those who would like to donate can go the camp’s mylesandjrfootballcamp.com and donate under the donation tab. Sherida Brinson can also be contacted for anyone wanting to donate directly to the camp’s bank account.
“We used to talk about what if it gets to 10 years, and now it’s year 11,” said brother to JR, Quillan McJunkin. “It’s not about the money, how many kids there are, it’s about the community. And in my book, we’ve already won the gold medal. We’re so thankful it’s still going.”