A total of 183 youth from ages 5-16 attended the first day of the free youth football camp, which was a pleasant surprise to camp coordinator and coach Laron Fluellyn.
“I’m overwhelmed with the turnout for the first day of the camp. The kids knew a lot about the game and were pretty experienced; those that didn’t know much about football were very eager to learn,” Fluellyn said.
The Hamm camp was a product of Falcons youth football coach Fluellyn and his best friends and coaches last summer in memory of Lamont Hamm, a Falcons coach who died on one of the Volunteer Park fields during a game on Oct. 24, 2009.
“What’s special about this camp is many of the kids knew about the reason for the camp through their parents and the buzz in the community has been great,” Fluellyn said. “This has been a good start, despite the weather.”
Ten-year-old camper J.J. Radford was pleased with the camp’s first-day drills and said he had a good time.
“We got some great exercise today. We jumped over cones, caught footballs and did a bunch of running drills,” Radford said. “I’m ready to come back for more.”
Fluellyn and coach O.J. Parks, whose son Jaquez Parks plays on the Griffin High football team, said the good thing about the camp is that several kids Lamont coached on the Falcons are currently playing football for either Spalding or Griffin High.
“I think we’ll have at least six starters on Griffin that Lamont coached himself,” Parks said. “Lamont had a big influence on those kids.”
It’s clear Hamm also had a big influence on Fluellyn, Parks, his classmates and the community. Parks used to coach on the Falcons but when Hamm died, he gave up coaching football and now sticks to AAU basketball.
“Lamont’s death hurt me too much,” Parks said. “It’s hard to recover from that. We were all best friends.”
The Hamm camp continues today, Thursday and Friday and a pre-camp ceremony in Hamm’s memory will take place on Friday. The Griffin High Class of 1990 — Hamm’s graduating class — will also attend the camp Friday and plans to cook.