SALEM, OR (KPTV) - Building experiences in life through football, the Island Boy Camp has been going strong in the Salem community for the past nine years.
Now, the camp’s reach has gone statewide.
When no fields are open, the gym at Salem’s First Baptist Church is the place where the FBU Oregon Screamin’ Eagles play.
“If you want to come play, you come play,” said fifth-grader TKO Westbrook. “No messing around. We actually want to play the game.”
Founded by the Fuimaono brothers and cousins in the summer of 2009, after some played ball at Western Oregon, the Island Boy Camp has been working to serve up better opportunities for the past decade.
“For me and my brothers, we spent the first 20 years of adulthood doing music on the road, reggae and hip-hop. We didn’t realize what we were stumbling into,” said Chris Fuimaono.
The nonprofit group assists in developing young athletes through confidence, character and consistency by coaching, mentoring and teaching. The goal is to have them play in high school, college and maybe even the pros.
“We are actually trying to get our kids that free education, get that free ride. Opportunity, that’s what it is,” said Fuimaono.
The IBC recently canvassed the state for the top middle school talent, holding tryouts in Beaverton, Medford, Salem and The Dalles, to put together three squads from fifth-graders to eighth-graders to compete as team Oregon.
“I have lived in Oregon my whole life, so some of these players I have never seen them before, and they are just amazing,” said sixth-grader Ty Coppernoll of Newberg.
Fuimaono said the Island Boy Camp is about more than just football, it’s about the experience.
“At the end of the day, football comes and goes, but it’s really these relationships that they keep, so I want to make sure the experience is a positive one,” Fuimaono said.
For more, go to islandboycamp.org.
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