While the Johnson’s All-Heart football skills camp lacked some of the star power it has had in recent years, the one-day charity camp was still the same prime example of athletes who grew up in Buena Vista giving back to their community.
Demons coach Matt Flavin said that about 40 kids showed up for the morning sessions for grades 3-6 and about 50 enrolled in the high school drills for students in grades 7-12.
While in past years, BVHS alumnus and two-time Super Bowl champion Nate Solder has come back home to host the camp, bringing fellow players from the NFL and his college Alma Mater, the University of Colorado, as guest coaches, Solder was sidelined as he recovers from surgery on his ankle.
The morning drills were led by CU coaches Jack Harris and Jason Brace. However, Harris and Brace had to leave for the latter session due to NCAA rules preventing them from working with high school students.
The high school students were led by current Buffalo tight end Eddy Lopez and a number of BVHS Alumni, some of whom played with Solder as Demons, and former BVHS coach Bob Marken.
“We all talk about giving back to the community, and that’s what they’re doing here,” Flavin said. “It’s really pleasing to see these guys come back and donate their time … they always set this week aside and come out and give back.”
Chris Heinze brought five boys up from Cotopaxi for the camp, two of them for the first time.
“It’s good that we can bring that to our little mountain community and show these kids that just because we came from a small area doesn’t mean we can’t do big things.”
Proceeds from the camp benefit the Johnson’s All-Heart award, given every year to a high school assistant coach in the state who is not only involved with kids during sports, but also invests time outside the season of sports in helping develop successful young adults. The award is named for the Johnson family.
In 2013, Dwayne and Dawna Johnson, both coaches at BVHS, were killed in a rock slide near Agnes Vaille Falls along with their daughter and two nieces.
The award goes to a coach “who exemplifies what the Johnson family was all about,” Solder said. “Their commitment to kids, their sacrifice for sports and academics and being great people.”
The funds also go to a scholarship for a boy and a girl every year, given out at graduation in May, Flavin said.
This year, Elizabeth Wiswell and Matt Thompson received the 500 scholarships.