SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Each summer, Sycamore High School’s football coaches hold a youth camp.
They were determined to still hold one this summer despite the obvious challenges presented by COVID-19.
“We want the kids still playing and doing football. Unfortunately, we can’t get all the kids together, so we do the next best thing,” said Jim Eagan, who lives near Sycamore High School.
Eagan’s sons, who play youth football in the area, huddled around a laptop in their home living room last week as they watched Sycamore’s live camp on Facebook.
“It’s the same stuff they’re being taught, but in some ways it’s even better because at camp they can be distracted. You’ve got the heat and the other kids,” explained Eagan.
Meanwhile, several miles across town, the coaches were surrounded by cameras as they gave instruction during the fully virtual camp.
The camp was facilitated by a company called “Pro Camps” operating in the Cincinnati area.
“Quarantine or no quarantine, it provided some sort of instruction ... things they can do without a coach, without a parent, and by themselves,” said Sycamore football coach Scott Dattilo.
Former Sycamore player Justin Murray, now an Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman, joined the coaching staff.
Aside from instruction, he also answered questions from participants throughout the camp.
“For me to be able to come back and coach or run a camp - help out in any way I can – it means a lot to me,” said Murray.
It’s a far reach from a typical camp, where a coach is talking directly to hundreds of kids.
“In this camp you’re talking to a camera, with a bunch of adults in the background directing. It’s different, but at the end of the day, we’re still providing the same instruction,” said Dattilo.
The idea may seem crazy to some.
“Crazy times call for crazy solutions,” said Eagan.
In this virtual world, Sycamore High School found a virtual solution.
You can watch the full recording of the camp here: https://www.facebook.com/procamps/videos/641126886752347