By Joel Hall
Seeds of Success, a character-development program, is teaming up with the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, and former Atlanta Falcons player, Terance Mathis, to provide budding athletes with a free opportunity to better themselves -- on and off the field.
On Friday, from 8 a.m., to 4 p.m., Seeds of Success will host a free Football Camp for Clayton County students, aged 11-17 at Tara Stadium, located at 1055 Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro.
During the camp, children will learn the benefits of putting school before sports and how to become a "triple threat," in academics, character, and athletics, according to Gavin McGuire, Seeds of Success founder and CEO.
"The same energy, the same discipline, and the same drive that it takes to be a good football player is the same energy that you need to put into the classroom," said McGuire, a Jonesboro resident. He said people who excel in academics will put themselves "in a position of success" no matter what they choose to do in life.
In the morning, Mathis, a former Redan High School star and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver, will give a keynote speech on the importance of character, on and off the field. A presentation entitled, "Academics Before Athletics," is scheduled at lunch time. Its intent is to define what it means to be a student-athlete.
After lunch, Mathis, other current or former NFL players, and local coaches, will lead students in offensive and defensive football drills, coordination techniques, and speed and agility training.
Mathis said the camp is about a lot more than running. "I think what is unique about this camp is that we are planting seeds," he said. "Even though it's a football camp, we are going to get to hear people talking about academics, character, how to be a leader.
"In one day, we can't change a child, but if we can plant a seed, where one day it will grow, it will help everyone," Mathis said. "I hope that they have a whole bunch of fun, and it's enjoyable for them, so we can do this every year."
Detrick Stanford, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said the fact that the camp is free is a big help to county residents. "In some instances, a lot of parents were saying that there wasn't a lot of programming for kids," said Stanford. "In the same breath, they were saying that some of these programs were unaffordable.
"Usually, to partake in the resources of NFL athletes costs an exorbitant amount of money," Stanford said. "The fact that they are willing to come down here will be a great resource for the kids."
"With all of the foreclosure rates and the problems with the accreditation issue in the schools, it's good to see that all the different partners are on the same page and working together to make this happen," said McGuire.
To register, or for more information, call (678) 522-4133, or visit www.theseedsofsuccess.net.