Youth flag football camp aligns with middle school, high school football programs
Marco Cuevas believes that with change comes opportunity. So, as he steps up as eighth grade football coach, and Jay Hamric takes over the Steamboat Springs High School squad, both teams are collaborating with Steamboat Youth Athletics flag football camp to usher in a new era of Steamboat football.
The flag football camp has been around for a while, but it’s taking on a slightly new shape and forming new goals. With a partnership between the middle school and high school programs, Yampa Valley youth will be more prepared than ever to play football at higher levels.
“I feel like this is a great opportunity to hit the reset button and to create a vertical program from an early age through high school that we always wanted and are striving for,” Cuevas said.
The 2021 flag football camp will run next week, July 19-23, at Steamboat Springs High School and costs $100. Registration can be completed at SteamboatYouthAthletics.com/sports.
“Mostly, this program was on its own, kind of like its own private island. Now, I’ve incorporated it with coach Jay (Hamric), who’s the new head (high school) football coach, and Marco Cuevas, who’s the head middle school football coach,” said Jeff Sublett, director of Steamboat Youth Athletics. “We all share the same vision of let’s get these kids excited when they’re in kindergarten, first grade about safety and football and Steamboat football. That way, by the time they get up into the older age, they already know a lot of things, and they can transition right into Steamboat football.”
The camp is for children in kindergarten to sixth grade and is 100% noncontact.
“I would say one of the main goals is for kids to have fun playing football, learn how to play football and have them want to play again next year,” Cuevas said.
As a seventh-grade coach, Cuevas’ goal was to ensure his players wanted to continue the following year. Now, as an eighth-grade coach, his goal is to make players want to play in high school. He’ll carry that motto into the camp as well.
Football has taken a hit in the past 10 years across the nation due to heightened awareness of concussions. Steamboat has been no exception. Cuevas also thinks the amount of opportunities in Steamboat is hard to compete with.
“When you have kids spread out over so many wonderful things, things get mile-wide, inch-deep,” Cuevas said.
This new partnership in the flag football program could change that, though, getting young players more excited than ever about the sport.
The camp is just a week, but in the fall, there will be a league for youth football players, as well.
“I’m excited to build some momentum back in our town around football,” Sublett said. “I know there’s sort of been a black cloud over football for the last decade or 15 years because of concussions and things like that. What we’re doing is we’re offering a safe environment for the kids to learn.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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