American-Tribune (copy)

The Muscogee Creek Nation is sponsoring its ninth annual Spirit of Oklahoma Football Camp. This year, they have planned five one-day camps at five different locations.

Each camp will be held at a different high school, beginning at Coweta Tiger Stadium June 7; the Indian Bowl at Alice Robertson Junior High in Muskogee June 8; Ironhead Stadium in Eufaula June 13; at the Pecan Bowl in Okemah, June 14 and at Hafer Field in Bristow June 15.

Registration forms are available on the website for the Muscogee Creek Nation at MCN-NSN.GOV. On-site registration will be available, each camp day, beginning at 8:00 am. A fee of $5 will be requested for non-Indian participants. Age groups will be separated with 1-6 and grades 7-12 each day.

Each participant will receive a camp shirt, lunch and a camp certificate. During breaks, they will receive water and Gatorade to keep them hydrated. Depending on the heat, camps usually wind down about 3:30-4:30 pm. To help prevent injuries, participants should drink plenty of water – begin at least two days before camp; have physical activity through the week before the camp; get plenty of rest and eat nutritious food – fruit, vegetables (limit fried & spicy food).

Participants should wear comfortable clothing for outside play the day of the camp.

Camp participants will receive individual instruction in football fundamentals to improve and develop physical skills for the game. The camp also focuses on four principles of leadership: Discipline, Respect, Trust and Hard work.

The Camp is led by Thomas Lott, a quarterback who played at OU. Other notable coaches are guys who have played at major universities and most went on to play NFL. It began with several veteran OU and OSU players coming together to give back to rural communities. They all have a commitment to help youth recognize their potential. Alvin Bailey, originally from Weleetka, was a volunteer at the first camp in 2011 in his hometown of Weleetka. He went on to play in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.

Other notables like Jamelle Holieway, Uwe Von Schamann, and LeShon Johnson have been a part of the camp since the beginning. Coach Switzer attended the camp in 2013. The coaches have a wealth of experience and knowledge they share with the camp participants.

This year, Thomas Lott has assembled many of the same coaches who have coaching experience with these camps. In addition to the school administration and their coaches supporting the effort, the surrounding Indian communities have also been an integral part of supporting the students. Last year, they conducted three camps, growing to five this year.

Football is a household word in Oklahoma. It seems that every young person aspires to be a part of the sport. Partnering with the schools and the communities, the MCN Spirit of Oklahoma Football camp is a great investment in our kids. Coach Lott said, “We start out working on speed and agility, which is not only important for football, but other sports as well. And girls can benefit from it also.”

For questions or more information, call Sandi Golden 918-623-6437

John covers news and sports for the Wagoner County American-Tribune. Phone: 918-485-5505