More than 150 of Maryland’s best high school and middle school football players will attend a two-day Diamond Flight Camp at Mount Saint Joseph High School this weekend as part of the Semper Fidelis Football Program hosted by the United States Marine Corps and JuniorRank.
With more than 20 Diamond Flight football camps nationwide, the Semper Fidelis program was created to help players develop leadership, self-confidence and teamwork skills that are valuable on and off the field.
United States Marines and professional coaches also hope to share core values of honor, courage and commitment with the camp participants.
Colonel Robert G. Golden III, Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, recently attended a selection tour event in Philadelphia.
Mentoring young athletes has been a fulfilling experience, he said.
“JuniorRank shares a lot in common with the Marines in terms of prioritizing physical fitness and character value,” Golden said. “I’ve been here a year and it’s been great.”
During the camp, drill instructors from the Marines will lead military-style warm-up drills and give seminars that help instill pride and community responsibility. The coaches want them to understand the importance of choosing players for their “life team,” which equates to picking others that share strong values.
“It’s not just about a football team,” Golden said. “That’s a small microcosm, but it’s really about making good choices that will help you out in life. We tell the kids that you can never go wrong doing the right thing.”
Select players will be honored at the conclusion of the camp and presented with leadership awards. Student athletes also may be granted a selection for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl this winter.
The youth football camps are the first part of the three-stage Semper Fidelis Football Program. An All-American selection tour follows the camps and the All-American Bowl, celebrating academic excellence, proven physical fitness, and quality of character, comes last.
The All-American Bowl will be in Los Angeles, Calif., at the Home Depot Center on January 4th, 2013. The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl will display a competition of East versus West teams comprised of the nation’s top high-school football players.
All three stages of the program would not be possible without the positive relationship between the Marine Corps and athletic and educational organizations. This partnership helps the U.S. Marine Corps develop future leaders and attract qualified enlisted and officer candidates.
Golden knows first hand that the Marine core values being presented at Diamond Flight football camps can be applied to real-life situations.
Teamwork is critical to overcoming any significant obstacle, whether it’s overcoming a fourth quarter deficit or defending our country against opposing threats, he said.
“It’s selfless service,” Golden said. “If everyone is executing properly, you can rely on the guy next to you. It’s about trusting in them to make you a better person.”
Diamond Flight Camp schedule:
- Saturday, July 21: 9:35 a.m. ET – USMC leadership seminar and training drills
- Sunday, July 22: 8:35 a.m. ET – USMC discussion with parents followed by training drills
- Sunday, July 22: 2:50 p.m. ET – Presentation of Leadership Awards and potential Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl player selection
Zach Sparks is an aspiring journalist with interests in a multitude of different areas including news, human interest stories and sports. A student at Towson University, he currently holds an internship at a public relations and advertising firm in Owings Mills where he writes and distributes press releases for several local non-profit organizations among other duties. He hopes to graduate in the fall of 2012 and parlay his experiences and education as a student into a successful writing career.