No matter one’s financial situation, Pro Football Camp believes every child should have the opportunity to pursue their interests and dreams. Thanks to generous donations from local businesses, Pro Football Camp offers scholarships to kids ages 7 – 14 years old that may not be able to afford the cost of attending camp.
“At Pro Football Camp,” explains Associate Executive Director Heidi Welge, “we want all young athletes to have the opportunity to learn from current and former NFL athletes that teach them skills both on- and off-the-field.”
The sponsorship program at Pro Football Camp provides partial and full scholarships to attend Pro Football Camp based on need. Over the 13-year history of the camp, more than 1,425 young athletes have benefitted from the scholarship program!
“Without the help of partners and donors, those 1,425 kids wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow as athletes and individuals by attending camp,” noted Welge. As Lorne “Mac” MacDonald, physical therapist and owner of Colorado Institute of Sports Medicine, pointed out, “That’s probably the biggest thing for the camp, is making sure everyone has the opportunity to come. I didn’t have that kind of opportunity when I was a kid.”
A large portion of the scholarship recipients come from Pro Football Camp’s outreach to local organizations such as Hope & Home, school districts, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA’s, but still many come from all over the Colorado Springs area having heard about Pro Football Camp.
The experience that these young athletes receive at Pro Football Camp is invaluable. Not only do they improve on-the-field from professional instruction, but they also develop strong character traits through “Off the Field with the Pros.” Three times each camp day the NFL athletes lead a session designed to strengthen character traits such as respect, hard work and perseverance. With the level of attention that the young athletes pay to the NFL athletes, the lessons taught in these sessions have a lasting impact on the kids. In fact, many parents have noticed changes in their child’s attitude and behavior due to these sessions. In a survey taken by parents of participants in 2018, 76% of parents noticed a moderate to strong positive change in their child’s attitude just from the three days at Pro Football Camp.
The support from Pro Football Camp’s partners comes is various forms in making this experience possible for kids. For example, some partners will host fundraisers such as Brass Tap, some will make monetary donations such as Springs Dentistry, Classic Homes, Hope Homes, and AMOS, and some will donate their expertise such as ATR Sports providing speed and agility training at camp and Colorado Institute of Sports Medicine providing first aid. Perhaps the greatest benefit of having such generous partners is being able to fund the scholarship program mentioned above, making sure that every kid can take advantage of this opportunity to learn from NFL athletes. Many of the partners make donations because they can see how much of an impact this camp has on the kids in the community. They truly believe in the mission of Pro Football Camp and they are thrilled that their efforts are contributing to that mission.
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