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Paso High Bearcats & PRYFL wrap up annual youth football camp 

PRYFL-4When Paso Robles High School varsity football coach Rich Schimke started a youth football camp 14 years ago, no other such camps for youth existed in North County. As the annual three-day camp was winding down this week, Schimke took some time to share his thoughts on what makes this not only a favorite among local youngsters, but also among his Bearcat football players.

PRYFL-3“Our philosphy is it’s run by the varsity football players and a few coaches,” Schimke said. “It’s not a high intensity thing; it’s to have fun and bond with the players.”

Schimke, as the former Bearcat girls’ basketball coach for many years, spent time running summer basketball camps. When he took on the title of  head varsity football coach at PRHS, he knew the football program would benefit from summer camps as well – the rest is history. The camp is hosted annually by the Paso Robles Youth Football League,with each camper receiving a T-shirt. Now in its 14th season, the camp saw participation from around 65 boys between the ages of 8 and 13.

PRYFL-5PRHS varsity assistant coach Gary Clow said there have been as many as 120 campers over the years and as few as 40.

“Having about 60 [participants] is just perfect,” said Clow.

Schimke wrapped up each day by handing out various awards and prizes. The final day of the camp concluded with a barbecue and additional awards for participants and coaches.

There were about 25 varsity Bearcat football players participating in this summer’s camp; the chance to trade their helmets in for a coach’s cap is something the players look forward to as they work with the campers. Not only is it an PRYFL-1opportunity for the teens to provide a form of community service to the youngsters, it  is a chance for them to coach others as opposed to being coached; a chance to step into their varsity coaches’ shoes and understand a different view of the game of football.

Assistant coach Jerry Reynolds said that although the varsity players are not required to be at the camp, it is recommended. Some are unable to participate due to summer school or job commitments.

“About half of the varsity players were through this when they were little,” Reynolds added.

PRYFL-2The Bearcat players and coaches concluded their summer conditioning sessions the week prior to the youth camp; they will have a three-week break before starting practice in early August for the upcoming fall football season. The varsity PRHS football players will host Nipomo in a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 22 at War Memorial Stadium before the 2014 season begins.

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