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Joint Base San Antonio | New youth football camps deliver life, team skills to military youth

  • Published
  • By Debbie Aragon
  • Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

New youth football camps are delivering life and teambuilding skills at installations to rave reviews.  

The camps, centrally funded by the Air Force Services Center’s child and youth programs, are at four installations for 2023 and are expected to grow significantly to 20-25 Department of the Air Force locations for summer 2024, including some overseas. 

“We’ve been requesting new sports camps for a while and were able to make it happen,” said Kevin Hansen, AFSVC CYP specialist. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive … some of our staff have even said that this has been the most successful youth sports camp that AFSVC has ever sponsored.” 

The camps, for youth 9-18, are delivered by MVP 360, a Philadelphia-based company affiliated with the NFL Play 60 organization and taught, in some cases, by youth coaches with NCAA and NFL experience. 

Felix Agosto, a retired Air Force senior NCO and military dad, is the founder and CEO of the company, and said he recognizes the hardships military children and families endure. 

“My program is built on lessons learned during the time I spent serving my country,” he said. “There is a strategy behind what we do that fits within the resiliency culture. There’s very little downtime by design.”  

During the camps, “there’s a focus on teamwork, situational leadership, problem solving, peer-to-peer support and character development, in addition to the sport’s specific skills development such as strength, conditioning, speed, catching and throwing,” Hansen said. “Thus, this positive, interactive camp and uniquely set-up program adapts to inclusive surroundings and skill levels for all participants leading to a more resilient military youth.”   

Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was the first stop in the program. 

“The team of coaches and trainers motivated the youth to develop their own personal goals, identify and complete daily objectives to reach their goal, and gain an understanding of team development and leadership,” said Tom Lynds, JBSA-Lackland Youth Programs director. “The end-of-practice reflective question and answer periods reinforced team support concepts, working together on the same objective and personal responsibility.” 

At the end of camp, Lynds said attendees left with “a toolbox of personal support, drills to build on team football and a personal physical fitness routine to maintain flexibility and strength.”

They also left the camp as a more well-rounded youth, he said.

“The main objective is to ensure the flag football camp receives maximum exposure to provide as many youth as possible the opportunity to participate and experience the skill development of all facets of the game, while enhancing all areas of their skills and fundamentals for various new sports,” said William Crockett, a member of the youth programs team at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. “The ultimate goal is to instill leadership qualities in them not for just sports, but to help them prepare to be leaders in life as well.” 

The camps were built around a “hit the ground running” mentality, Agosto said. 

“The program is progressive in that we start with a heavy dose of strength and conditioning on day one, and end with a fun, competitive game,” he said.  “Kids are guided through our system that encourages teamwork, participation and communication. The final day seems like fun because of all the work they’ve put in prior to it.” 

Now that he’s been retired for 11 years, Agosto said he’s around parents who find it extremely difficult to leave their kids on a business trip for five days.  

“Air Force parents leave for up to six months at a time, yet they return to a family waiting for them with open arms both at home and at work,” he said. “There is nothing easy about it in either scenario but there is something to be said about the parent and child who overcome the hardships of the separation, reunite and move on in life.” 

The camps began in June with JBSA-Lackland, followed by MacDill Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, Florida, and ending with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in August.  

In addition to life lessons, youth attending the camps receive an NFL jersey from their local area and the youth camp sites get new youth football gear and equipment to supplement their sports programs. 

Look for more on the expanded camps in Spring 2024 and visit www.myairforcelife.com for Air Force services program updates.