BETHANY — In what has become a hyper-intense world of summer football camps and combines, a family can easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a few short months.
Some camps last only a few hours, some a few days, and many of them cost $200, $300 or more.
So imagine what it would cost for a three-day camp that teaches a curriculum set up by the NFL for its High School Player Development program.
Well, how about nothing.
And that's why it's a little surprising that Putnam City West coach John Jensen still hasn't filled up his 300 slots for the HSPD camp he will host next month.
The HSPD program hosts 150 camps in 36 states, with only two of them in Oklahoma. Another will be held in the Tulsa area in July.
“This is what the NFL feels high school kids should know before they go to college, skill-wise,” Jensen said. “The position-specific skills of football that the NFL feels need to be taught.
“You can go to a college camp and pay $350, and you'll do fewer drills than we'll do at this camp.”
Players only have to bring their own shoulder pads, helmets, shorts and cleats. Each athlete in attendance receives an NFL/National Guard planner and a practice jersey, and can sign up at www.nflyouthpd.com.
The camp is even more unique because it goes beyond football. The curriculum also focuses on school work and community involvement, as well as character development and life skills. There's also a course provided by the Centers for Disease Control discussing player safety, including concussion treatment and management.
“It's nothing like any other camp out there,” Jensen said. “It's just, come learn football, come learn time management and life skills, and have a great time doing that.
“We have this attitude around the country that if you don't pay for it, it isn't good. This isn't John Jensen's Happy Fun Time Camp. This is the NFL's camp.”
Last year, Bethany coach Reagan Roof went out to watch the first day of the camp, and the next day, he had a half-dozen of his players signed up.
“It's as good as any camp I've seen, and it's free,” Roof said. “It has quality coaches, it's well-organized. The kids get a lot of reps and it's got good competition.
“There are a bunch of kids out there who can't afford a $200 camp, but this one isn't about making money from the kids. It's refreshing to see an organization that wants to give back and so something good for kids.”