HBCU Youth camp, tour coming this summer

Published 10:33 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

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Central High School in Hayneville and Lowndes County Athletics are partnering to bring a sports initiative for kids ages 6-14 to the 45 this summer.

The partnership will host Prep Unlimited’s HBCU Players Youth Camp and Tour at Central on May 21 as an opportunity for Lowndes County children to meet and learn from top players among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

According to Central Coach Corvin Johnson, the camp helps develop younger student athletes.

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“There’s a lot of buzz amongst colleges about the talent we have here now and also the young upcoming talent in Lowndes County,” Corvin said. “Marquis Richardson reached out and told me they wanted to host a camp here as part of an effort to start a nationwide travel little league football team.”

According to Richardson, Prep University (Prep U) is a nonprofit organization with a focus on developing sports opportunities for West Alabama Black Belt areas.

“We are trying to work with cities and counties that don’t offer travel league sports,” Richardson said. “Our effort is to try to get as many kids active in the sports arena over the summer as possible, to get kids off the streets and give them something that puts them in a positive environment. We also want to give our kids a chance to play in the top competitions around the nation.”

College athletes from Alabama State University in Montgomery and Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana will conduct the camp, which is one of six camps being held in Marion, Tuscaloosa, Lafayette, York, Butler, and Hayneville. Richardson said the camps benefit the college athletes too by bringing name, image, and likeness (NIA) recognition to the college athletes while providing them an opportunity to give back by coaching the next generation of athletes.

“The college players will use this opportunity to create NIA deals,” Richardson said. “So, all of these players will be marketing and branding while doing community service by helping youth across the state.”

Children from across the county are eligible to participate for the cost of a $50 registration fee. Participation is not limited to a particular school or community, Johnson explained.

“We’ve reached out to schools in Montgomery, Selma, and Wilcox counties,” Johnson said. “We expect a great turnout. Upperclassmen on the football team will be out there as well, getting the chance to work at camp.”

Richardson said the initiative is focused on bringing notoriety and higher ranking to West Alabama schools.

“We want to bring scholarships to our kids and give them national exposure, some things that school systems may be too financially strapped to do,” Richardson said. “We want to step in and be a bridge with the school systems to allow these kids to play other kids across the nation so when they get to high school it helps the coaches with team development.”