RAVENSWOOD -Two years ago, the members of the Ravenswood High School football staff decided they would like to start an annual summer youth football camp.
Little did they know at the time how successful their venture would become.
The first year, the Ravenswood Youth Football Camp attracted 55 youngsters. Last year, that number increased to 72.
This year's camp -slated for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 8 and 9 and 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 -is expected to see yet another increase in participation.
"We're educators,'' said Ravenswood assistant coach Jason Jackson. "We like to teach the fundamentals of football.''
The camp is for youths aged seven through the eighth grade. In addition to the members of the Ravenswood football staff, 12 former players returned last year to help and 15 current players already have volunteered for this year's camp. Campers are taught the basic fundamentals of offense, defense and special teams play.
On Saturday, the final day of the camp, a Ravenswood version of the punt, pass and kick is conducted with all campers participating.
"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback,'' Jackson said. One reason the Ravenswood staff is able to conduct the camp is its continuity. Coach Dick Sturm has a loyal group of assistant coaches in Jackson, Kemp Kelly, Steve Sturm, Will Burgess and volunteers Brad Dawson and Jake Curtis.
Following the camp cookout on the final day, the Jackson County Black Bears, a semiprofessional football team, will be playing a game with the campers invited to attend.
Jackson said several parents have brought youngsters who never have played football, and they have pleased with the camp, which introduces them to the game and allows them to play touch football. Registration for the camp will take place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 8.
For more information, call Jackson at 304-532-0231.