Ron Johnson addresses some of the 400 campers at the Johnson-Toney Football Camp.
By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC
More than 400 kids and 40 coaches gathered at Monterey Peninsula College last week for the Johnson-Toney Football Camp hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County.
The camp is named after Ron Johnson and Anthony Toney, two local football legends who currently work for the Boys & Girls Club.
I had the honor of working on the planning committee for the camp and as one of the coaches at the camp.
The coaches who worked the camp all donated their time, restaurants donated food, and Monterey Peninsula College even allowed the Boys & Girls Club to use their incredible facility free of charge.
The camp was the epitome service, and the lead servant was Johnson who is the Vice President of Operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County. Before working at the club, Johnson had a successful professional football career, first playing in the Canadian Football League and later playing for five years with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver.
The 400 camp participants came from throughout the county reaching as far south as Greenfield and as far north as Castroville, even extending into Santa Cruz County with players from Watsonville.
The theme of the camp was treating each other with respect. One of the goals was to teach the campers that it is possible to compete with another player rather than against another player.
The difference is a simple but important one.
When you compete with another person, both of you try your hardest to succeed and in that effort both competitors improve their ability to play. You also recognize and honor the effort of your opponent knowing the critical role that quality competition plays in improvement.
If you compete against an opponent, then your focus is on defeating the person against whom you are playing. Your goal is no longer to improve as a player, and success is measured only on the scoreboard.
Our campers received high quality football instruction from a staff of positive coaches who were conscious of their position as role models in these players’ lives.
Every day at lunch time, a guest speakers imparted lessons about life to the kids at camp.
On the first day, I had the pleasure of addressing the camp on the importance encouraging each other throughout the day. More and more, society holds people up to ridicule for the embarrassing moments in life. We emphasized building each other up rather than tearing each other down.
Paul Cater, a local strength and conditioning coach, talked to players about making it to the Super Bowl in a manner other than playing for one of the two teams. He pointed out that there were plenty of sports careers, like his own, that supported athletes. He also emphasized the importance of proper nutrition to live a healthy lifestyle.
On day three, physical therapist Damon Anderson teamed with neurosurgeon Dr. Chris Carver to educate the players and parents in attendance about the symptoms of concussions and the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment of them.
On the final day, former San Francisco 49ers center and current high school coach Chris Dalman spoke to the campers about motivation. He mentioned that having the willpower to get out of bed and show up to participate in physically strenuous activity necessitates a character trait that will take them far in life.
The take away from the 2013 Johnson-Toney football camp is that it is more important to build better people than better players. While the kids received quality coaching from the staff, they also received timeless advice from people who had competed at the highest level possible.
Those kinds of lessons are timeless.