LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (WCMH)— A high school football player dreamed of helping kids experience the game of football. After a long year of planning, recruiting, organizing, and persisting, it happened.
The idea was to create a football camp catered to children with special needs from five-year-olds to 18-year-olds. The participants would experience catching, throwing, tackling, and express themselves at an end zone dance station.
The student who dreamed it up was Trent Maddox. A junior football player and student at Olentangy High School. The event was called BRAVELife.
“It was awesome,” said Maddox. “We fed them after and it was completely free.”
The Braves football team orchestrates youth and middle school football camps annually. Maddox realized some people were missing.
“Kids with special needs really never attend those camps,” Maddox said. “I was like we could put together a camp [for special needs.]”
The teen wanted to share credit to the head coach Mark Solis and the boosters. Solis refused that notion.
“He did a tremendous job getting a lot of people involved with this from photographers to food to getting donations and getting our own players involved,” Solis explained. “He worked on this for over than a year and it showed.”
“I’ve never been apart of something like this,” said Solis. “It was on of the neatest things I’ve been apart of and witnessed, because there’s nothing more enjoyable than seeing young people smile and laugh.”
The most memorable moment for Maddox was a little boy and his dad at the photo booth. The camper, according to Maddox, did not want to look at the camera. And then it happened.
“The kid and his dad were both smiling at each other. The kid’s huge smile on his face, you can see it in his dad’s eyes,” Described Maddox. “That was probably the best moment.”
Maddox and Solis want the camp to grow next year. One more thing, Maddox wants to study special education in college and become teacher.