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Vaught’s note: Former all-Southeastern Conference receiver Derek Abney wanted to add a few insights into a story I did about a month ago on the football camp another former Wildcat, Champ Kelly, will be hosting in Lexington June 21-22-23.
By DEREK ABNEY
The first CHAMP Camp was last year and went better than I anticipated. It is organized by a former UK football player, Champ Kelly, who’s now the assistant director of Pro Personnel for the Denver Broncos. I had never done a football camp prior to last year’s but, because of Champ’s character and dedication to a fantastic cause, I had to be involved.
There were roughly 150 children who learned football fundamentals and, more importantly, got to hear some good insights from positive role-models. Besides myself, some of those speakers included Alphonso Smith, John Conner (my favorite UK football player), Ellery Moore, a church leader, a NFL referee, and even Gayle Sayers. I can’t 100 percent confirm this but this year we hope to have some recent UK players all of us know! (Does anyone remember #18???)
Part of the reason I thought the camp last year was a success was the way the sponsors came through for the children. The sponsors not only made the camp fee affordable but also donated $7,000 – $8,000, with majority to UK Children’s Hospital and a portion to Urban Impact (Lexington inner-city, church oriented). The major donors were Dunkin’ Donuts, Nurse’s Registry, Lexington Legends, and Texas Roadhouse and most of the sponsors are signed up again.
I hope and anticipate this year will be bigger and better with more children, great speakers and more charity. However, the camp’s success is dependent on spreading the word and I encourage all to be a part this with me. This not only means having your children participate in the camp, but please tell your friends, co-workers and your church and get involved with advertising. The more people know, the more we can touch.
I also want to personally invite everyone to come down to Texas Roadhouse during dinner on Thursday, June 21 to meet me and the staff. I would love to say hello and thank you for your support in my college career and also for your community.