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Logan Yawn, 14, does some quick steps during the Red Fox Athletics camp at North Fort Myers Community Park on Tuesday.

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  • Chuck Ballaro

More than 100 kids showed up at the North Fort Myers Community Park on Tuesday for the first day of camp, and since the rain stayed away, it was a two-hour session of building skills and stamina for the coming season.

With the Pop Warner football season will start in less than two weeks, Red Fox Athletics put together a two-week camp to help kids from all sports get ready.

Steve Brown, president of Red Fox Athletics, said the idea is to work with the youth of North Fort Myers in athletics and academics at low cost.

“The camp is one of our major fundraisers of the year which allow us to sponsor kids for Pop Warner who can’t afford to pay and to provide them with tutoring services,” Brown said. “It’s designed for kids who have sat around all summer to give them some activities to get athletic and acclimated to the heat and training.”

Brown said it wasn’t just about football skills, but all athletic endeavors, especially soccer, that are played outside. The camp runs from now until Thursday, July 29, just three days before the opening of Pop Warner on Sunday, Aug. 1, with the first practice the following day.

Brown said it seems pretty convenient, but the reality is it was just timing. “The camp is here because that was when the county would allow me to lease the fields. Once they told me when the fields were available is when we locked down the camp,” Brown said.

Kids were put through the gauntlet of skill-building drills, put on by many of the local Pop Warner coaches, that had them running, jumping, cutting and building their endurance. While there were many football players, there were also soccer players and cheerleaders who participated. Pete Gonzalez, who has coached youth sports for 46 years (including Brown), was in charge of the older campers. To call what they were doing a “gauntlet” was appropriate, he said.

Red Fox Athletics is a non-profit organization that provides low-cost educational and athletic opportunities to the youth of this community. Though it participates in a spring football league, it is not affiliated with Pop Warner football.

“It works mostly on their stamina and the lower half of the body. I’ve used these drills coaching soccer and other sports,” Gonzalez said. “Stamina is most important because they’ve only been using their thumbs all summer. They’ll be huffing and puffing after this.” The idea was to work them through different exercises for dexterity. The did quick speed, ladder jumps, in and out cuts and other different drills, Gonzalez said.

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