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Wright-Patt kids sharpen athletic skills with help from NFL pro

  • Published
  • By Isabel Velez
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – On July 9-10 Military children participated in the Steve Smith football ProCamp at the Kitty Hawk field. Over 150 children from ages 6-14 and all skill levels received this opportunity thanks to the base community for its support for the commissary.

For 6 years in a row Proctor and Gamble ran an annual contest with DOD commissaries to see which ones could sell the most P&G products and build the best displays. The top 11 commissaries won a free ProCamp for the military families and their children at each base.

Wright-Pat was one of the winning bases in addition Fort Leonard Wood, Tyndall Air Force Base, Naval Outlaying Landing Field Imperial Beach, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Fort Carson, Fort Knox, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Fort Buchanan, and Fort Belvoir.

ProCamp is a two day football camp devoted to improving the athletic skills of children. The participants are all military kids up to the 8th grade, at any skill level, giving them the opportunity to learn from a professional NFL player.

Adam Ross, CEO of ProCamp explains why they are providing the camp for military members.

“We appreciate what the military families do, and if we can come here and give them a great time with a top NFL professional we want to let them know that we appreciate the sacrifices they give,” said Ross.

Procamp sectioned off the camp participants by age giving each team a name and an experienced coach to run the activities for each day. Many of the children participating in the program expressed their excitement about being able to play and interact not only with each other but also Steve Smith.

Steve Smith Sr. is a former NFL wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. Smith earned multiple titles of achievement including 2005 comeback player of the year and most touchdowns achieved during one season with the Panthers. 

“It’s a great event, I really enjoy doing it, and I enjoy going to the different bases, and it’s a cool experience,” said Smith.

Smith spend two days with the children running drills and coaching them, but more importantly he wanted the main focus to be on the kids having fun and enjoying the experience.

“For me it is a small token to say thank you. This is an opportunity to serve our men and women and their children,” said Smith.

The participants were all given complimentary t-shirts to be signed by Smith, as well as grand prizes for a top player per team elected by the teams coach to be awarded at the end of each training day. All of the participants also received the opportunity to talk with and take a picture with Smith in addition to being coached.

Victor Venegas is a participant who was a part of The Wildcats, the youngest team on the field. Victor, age 6, expressed his favorite part was meeting Steve Smith and making new friends in the camp, he hopes that the Procamp will happen again next year.

Master Sgt. Martin Venegas, Victor’s dad, stayed to watch his children participate in the camp.

“What was really cool was seeing them interact with kids that they normally don’t get to,” said Venegas.

Venegas encourages parents to take the opportunity to participate in future programs.

“How much fun they had was what made me happy and just seeing them run around and be able to do this because I know how happy it makes them,” said Venegas.

To see what other events and opportunities military families can take part in on base check the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Bulletin.