By Karen Brainard
Speed, agility, and conditioning — that’s the focus of Ramona Pop Warner’s (RPW) summer boot camp where youths receive training from fitness experts and semi-pro football players.
The camp, for boys and girls ages 5 to 14, creates age appropriate workouts for young football players and cheerleaders and attracts children who are not in the Pop Warner program, said John Pecoraro, vice president of the Ramona organization.
RPW partnered with Ramona Fitness Center “to give the kids a better experience,” said Pecoraro.
Camp is held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at RPW’s BullDawg Stadium, 720 Ninth St.
Ramona Fitness Center sends personal trainers to work with the kids in the first hour of camp, teaching them the most up-to-date methods of speed, agility and conditioning, said Pecoraro.
“They tailored it around what kids will be doing during the season,” he noted.
RPW also partnered with the San Diego Stallions Development Football Team, which brings players and coaches to “really hone their skills,” said Pecoraro.
The Stallions, owned by the husband/wife team of Ray Stewart and Mary Blas, is a member of the La Belle Community Football League (LCFL), a competitive minor league football organization. About eight teams participate in the LCFL West, based out of Los Angeles, said Stewart. Players range in age from 18 to 36.
At the RPW camp, the Stallions set up different stations and participants rotate, working on agility and conditioning.
When campers separate for cheer and football, the young athletes can participate in stations that are specific to field positions, such as wide receiver, running back and linebacker.
“They’ll teach them some very, very fundamentals things about that station. The intent is to build on skills and have a good foundation,” explained Pecoraro.
Attendance at the camp varies and can range from 50 to 70 children and teens.
“Camp is the sort of thing that’s meant to be fun, get the kids out of the house,” noted Pecoraro.
According to Blas, the Stallions players really enjoy working with the youths.
“We get some really great feedback,” she said.
Pecoraro played with the San Diego Stallions at one time and has known Stewart for six years.
“Coming out here is no issue for us. We want to give back to the kids,” Stewart said.
Camp began June 18 and continues until July 18, with no camp held the week of July 1. Youths can sign up to participate by the week at a cost of $30. For more information, visit www.ramonapopwarner.net.
Ramona Pop Warner’s season starts with practice on Aug. 1. Games start Aug. 31 and run until mid-November.