Not too many high school football players in Canada can say they had the opportunity to participate in one of the best football camps in the world.
Although Parksville’s Scott Childs isn’t one to brag about it, his experience at Football University’s Top Gun camp is clearly the highlight of his summer.
Now busy on the field practicing with the Ballenas Whalers Senior Varsity team, Childs is demonstrating some newly-acquired football skills that he was taught at the Warhill Sports Complex in Williamsburg, Virginia over three days back in July.
The standout wide receiver was one of only 57 Canadian athletes chosen for the football camp that hosts more than 1,300 of the top prep and youth athletes from Football University’s (FBU) regional camps. The Top Gun athletes are given the unique opportunity to practice the techniques and skills they have been taught against athletes who are as big, as strong, as fast, and as gifted as they are.
Childs, who led the province in receiving last year for junior varsity football, was invited to hang out with football royalty after he participated in an FBU camp in Vancouver back in May.
The camp is by invitation only and Childs, who set a Whalers record last season and earned the Best Back Award, got invited by Dan Smith one of the coaches who works with the Whalers.
Smith’s son Braden is an alumnus of the Whalers and he occasionally helps out on the field he used to play on at Ballenas Secondary School.
Erin Childs, Scott’s mom, who was also the team medical trainer the last four years with the Whalers, said they were blown away with how much time Braden has spent mentoring Scott.
“Braden called Scott out of the blue and said my dad tells me you have a lot of potential and have the exact body type I did in Grade 10 … do you want some help?” she recalled.
The football mom said she can’t say enough about how supportive the former Whaler is when it comes to helping the young football players.
FBU teaches thousands of youth and high school players throughout the camp’s 40-city annual tour and from those camps they pick the top two players from each position in each grade to go to their camp.
Childs said the camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity and he was thrilled to be chosen.
“I was speechless when they told me. I was pretty excited,” agreed Childs.
The Parksville youth admitted he was nervous at first when he arrived at the massive sports complex and for good reason. The camp is held at a high school with seven football fields and the top ten percent of American high school football players were there.
With over a million kids in the U.S. playing high school football he knew he was among some of the best high school athletes out there.
“I was a bit intimidated when I first got there. I just felt that they wouldn’t have picked me if they knew I couldn’t compete … so I just thought I will try my best and enjoy it,” Childs related.
FBU’s instructional staff includes some of the best football technicians ever assembled and is made up of plenty of former NFL coaches and athletes.
FBU was founded as a premier educational football camp for an elite class of football players who have already demonstrated their high-level football ability, seriousness for the game, and have chosen football as their primary sport.
Childs, who is going into Grade 11, stated he definitely wants to take his football to the next level and when he finishes the next two years playing for the Ballenas Whalers he would like to play at the university level.
He said after football he would like to become a high school teacher and football coach.
Looking back at how he got to this point in a sport that isn’t heavily promoted in Canada, Childs revealed that football wasn’t his first love when he started playing organized sports.
“He was always playing soccer but decided to try football,” explained his mom who also revealed his first attempt at the game didn’t go well.
“He started at the junior bantam level in Grade six with Oceanside Youth Football but played one game and broke his foot.”
Childs said despite that injury he didn’t give up and gave it another shot the next year.
“I tried it again and really like it,” he said.
In Grade eight Childs got to move up and play with the Junior Varsity Whalers and it was that experience that sealed his football future.
“It’s amazing playing on the team.”
He revealed that the grind of the gridiron is intense but playing for the Whalers has so many positive benefits.
“It makes going to school more fun,” he said and indicated that the camaraderie among the football players is different than other organized sports.
Erin also believes the team spirit she has witnessed both as a parent of a football player and the team trainer is special.
“They are like a family. The kids stick up for each other. Scott had Grade 12 players who were his mentors when he played with the Whalers back in Grade eight,” Erin exclaimed.
She said it is awesome to have so many of the former Whalers players come back and help coach.
FBU’s goal is to train and develop athletes to help them improve their game, make plays at maximum speed as well as build character to be the best team mate, player and son that they can possibly be.
The forecast for the Ballenas Whalers this season is for exciting hard-nosed football and with Childs among the ranks of many returning talented players you can count on some outstanding football from the senior varsity team under the guidance of head coach Jeremy Conn.
Although full gear practice for the Whalers is well underway with the first game for the senior varsity team on September 8 there is still room on the roster for more players.
The junior varsity team has an exhibition game on September 6.
For more information email coach Conn at firstname.lastname@example.org.