FARMINGTON— Roughly 50 area youth turned out for the fifth annual Charly Martin Football Academy Youth Camp on Tuesday and Wednesday at Piedra Vista High School.
For the past five years, Martin, a 2003 Piedra Vista graduate and five-year NFL veteran, has hosted the two-day camp, which promotes exercise through football activities. After activities wrapped up Wednesday morning, Martin called this year's camp a complete success.
"It was a blast. Everything went great," Martin said of the free camp. "This is one of my favorite times of the year, coming back and doing this and being able to give back to the kids and the youth because I was in their shoes one day, so it's a lot of fun."
Some of the drills during the camp taught the second- through sixth-grade campers proper tackling technique, as well as route running and catching.
While the drills are designed to teach safe and proper technique, the camp is really geared toward having fun.
"Obviously, some football stuff," Martin said of the camp's activities, "but it's a lot more about having fun, giving good effort and enjoying what they do. They're young enough that it should be about having fun and getting out to exercise, and we try to incorporate that with basic football stuff."
When the drills ended Wednesday morning, the group of kids gathered around Martin, who stressed the importance of having fun. He told the kids that at 30 years old, he still has fun playing the game.
After addressing the camp about chasing their dreams, Martin gave out prizes, including Dairy Queen gift cards, a couple of pairs of the pink and blue NFL gloves players wear for breast and prostate cancer awareness and a pair of game-worn cleats.
When all the prizes were handed out, about half of the kids sprinted to the corner of the field to get a couple of slices of pizza, while the other half flocked around Martin, who signed every shirt or football in front of him and posed for photos.
"The young guys are always a blast," Martin said. "This is a good age group. They give a lot of effort, and you can tell that they like it."
As for the future of football in Farmington and the continuation of the camp, Martin said the outlook for both is bright.
"It's great," Martin said. "My plan is to do (the camp) hopefully every year."