Originally created 07/06/06

Sports camp puts focus on life skills, discipline



Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Marvin Marshall talked about success to about 100 boys in the gym at T.W. Josey High School.

"These are principles you can start applying now," he said. "If you want to be successful in life, athletics and school, you need to be a sportsman, be disciplined and be a hard worker."

Mr. Marshall, who has been on the coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints and is the offensive coordinator for the Augusta Spartans, is one of several guest speakers featured at the Positive Boys Positive Men summer camp, a nine-week sports and mentoring camp for boys 7-15.

Neely Lovett, the special teams and defensive backs coach for the Spartans and coach at Hephzibah High School, started the camp last summer because of the impression his high school coaches had on his life.

"We're teaching the fundamentals of a different sport each week, as well as sportsmanship and life skills such as self respect, discipline and how to be positive," he said.

The main difference Mr. Lovett said he sees from his first camp is growth. In only its second year, the camp has more than doubled its number of participants, going from 52 boys last summer to 110 boys from Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties this summer, Mr. Lovett said.

"Last year I prayed that God would bring more young men so I can say God answered my prayers," he said. "And one of the most impressive things is a lot of parents said they brought their kids back because there was a change in them after the last camp, as far as their attitudes."

The sports highlighted include football, basketball, track and soccer. The camp also offers tutoring Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mr. Marshall, who also helped with last year's camp, said it's important for him to come back and talk with the boys.

"Because there's so much negativity around, the kids need to see somebody that came from this area doing something positive," he said. "They need for someone they see as successful in athletics to come back and talk to them on a level they can relate to so they can start at a young age doing something positive with their lives."

Anthony Woods, 14, and Keven Myrick, 12, were eager to come back for a second year. Both said they told friends about the camp.

"A lot of my friends came," said Anthony, an A.R. Johnson ninth-grader. "(This year) it's way more kids and different coaches."

"It's fun," Keven said of why he wanted to return. "It's a sports camp but you get to learn something about life instead of just playing sports all the time."

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.

Positive openings

Positive Boys Positive Men summer camp costs $30 a week and still is accepting campers. Camp continues through Aug. 3. For more information, call (706) 836-0294.