Team Traditions: Northland teams bring inclusive camps to local fields
Throughout fall a number of football camps are held on Northland gridirons. One with a particular theme goes by many names, Victory Day or Champions Camp, but regardless of its name the camps have been taking prep fields by storm.
"Makes me proud to be able to help people," said Greg Spahn, head coach of the Grand Rapids football team. "Makes me proud to be able to show our young men in our program just the influence they have and how powerful it is to give back."
Grand Rapids kicked off their own Victory Day in 2014, and every year sense have welcomed those with special needs to run drills, play a few downs, and have fun as a Thunderhawk. Then the Superior Spartans picked up the theme, running their second annual Champions Camp in mid October.
"We talk all the time about reaching out and doing other things to help other people," Spartans head coach Bob DeMeyer said. "Give people opportunities and look for opportunities to serve other people. This is one of those things that we can do, and this helps our kids just as much as any of the participants."
Superior junior offensive lineman Wyatt Culwell described the Champions night as, "ten out of ten it was amazing."
Watching Farmington High School launch their own version this fall Spahn, who got the idea from a coach in Trenton, Michigan, said it’s been great watching the concept grow.
"Some of the parents of the participants came up and said, look, these guys look forward to three things during the year: they look forward to their birthday, they look forward to Christmas, and they look forward to Victory Day."
Both Grand Rapids and Superior plan to continue their annual events for as many years as they can.