Juneau youth are going to be able to do something that their football idols have not ever done before, play on the brand new synthetic turf at Adair Kennedy Field beginning Monday.
“It is pretty neat that the first people who get to play on the new turf is the younger kids,” Juneau-Douglas High School football coach Rich Sjoroos said. “And we do have plenty of openings right now, but they are filling up fast.”
This is the sixth annual JDHS Crimson Bears’ youth football camp, for ages 7-13, conducted by JDHS coach Sjoroos and his staff. A lot of the Crimson Bears players also work as coaches so youth get a chance to interact with many of their idols, or work with the foes their idols play against. The camp runs from 1-5 p.m., Monday July 23 through Friday July 28. The camp was moved back a week to allow for the new synthetic turf to be put in place.
“We do a lot of fundamentals and put them into teams and do competitions,” Sjoroos said. “We have a non-contact flag football tournament at the end.”
The camp is for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. There is a capacity for 80 youth to attend so it is advised to call coach Sjoroos as soon as possible at 957-2586 to reserve a spot.
“It is a lot of fun,” Sjoroos said. “We have been doing it for a long time and a lot of kids have had a great time there.”
One of those former youth campers will be helping out. Senior quarterback Phillip Fenumiai, who will be starting his fourth season as a Crimson Bears signal caller.
The Crimson Bears have just attended a prestigious team football camp in Boise, Idaho. The camp featured over 25 attending teams and hundreds of “renegade,” or individual, players attending. The Boise camp gives out a single varsity and JV award for each position and Fenumiai received the quarterback award.
This was the second year in a row that Fenumiai received the top varsity quarterback award at the camp.
“For him to get that, not only last year, but two years in a row, is phenomenal,” Sjoroos said.
Only two quarterback awards (among 125 QBs) were given at the camp and the second one, for junior varsity, went to the Crimson Bears’ sophomore Dorian Isaak.
“That was exciting for the team,” Sjoroos said. “Every one was making plays. It is kind of hard for the quarterback to win an award without guys blocking and guys catching and that kind of stuff, so I think everybody understood that. It was a neat way to cap off the camp down there.”
What will be neat is that Juneau youth get the opportunity to see these high school players in action and to be helped by them. This will be Fenumiai’s fourth year helping coach at the camp and Isaak’s second.
“What is really neat is that we are starting to see some of these youth kids in high school now,” Sjoroos said. “They come through the youth ranks and the camps and it is pretty cool to see that growth. This year the youth will be the first to get practice time on the field so that is very special.”
Parents are encouraged to call Sjoroos at 957-2586 or email ERSjoroos@gci.net. Registration paperwork will be available at the camp if capacity is not reached. Camp cost is $115 for the week, which includes a camp shirt.
The Crimson Bears first game of the season is August 11 at Thunder Mountain High School (JV at 4 p.m., Varsity at 7). The first official practice day for each school is July 30.