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P.R.I.D.E. Football Camp returns July 28-29 in Tilton

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Former New England Patriot Steve Nelson directs a drill during last year’s P.R.I.D.E. Football Camp in Tilton. Nelson and the crew will return once again when this summer’s installment begins on July 28. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
June 25, 2012
TILTON – We're just a month away from the third annual P.R.I.D.E Football Camp, as director Tim Snow and company are putting the finishing touches on what has quickly become one of the top youth camps in the northeast.

"I really wanted to put something together for kids around here that would be worth their time and money because there's never really been a football camp like that in this area," said Snow. "A lot of these camps, you're paying all this money to just be a number. We make sure that's not the case."

The camp, which will once again be held at the Route 132 Field in Tilton behind the Tanger Outlets, is scheduled for two days, July 28-29. The biggest change this summer will be the wider age reach, as kids 7-18 are invited to sign up. The camp will try and cap at around 200 kids but no one is turned away.

"The reach of the kids that are showing up from further and further away has been the biggest change we've noticed," said Snow. "Now we're really making a push to get the middle school and high school kids in so we'll have advanced sessions with those kids."

Snow's primary focus when he began the camp in 2010 was with the younger campers, but now that the new JV football coach at Winnisquam Regional High School has exposure with high schoolers, he's expanding things.

"It's been a pretty easy adjustment," Snow said. "We've set it up ahead of time to keep the middle school kids together, high school kids together. Just so we can keep the instructors teaching at the same level to each group, rather than teach up or teach down. I'm fortunate enough to know these (New England) Patriot guys that we have coming in to run the camp. They're a really dynamic group and most of them are coaches themselves at some level. They have a very good routine and they're great with the kids."

An impressive crew of former players are once again back to lead the camp, led by Patriots great Steve Nelson. Others returning to Tilton include Ronnie Lippett, Roland James, John Williams, Mike Ruth and Vernon Crawford, while Snow expects others to join the team, including former Boston College and NFLer Steve DeOssie.

The camp is put on by the Merrimack MudCats, a registered 501©(3) that raises money all year long to help local sports groups. This year, proceeds from the camp will benefit the Friends of Winnisquam Football. Last year's camp saw money go towards purchasing new football helmets for the Friends of Gilford Football. Snow said money also goes to support the WLNH Children's Auction each year.

The two day, full contact camp is $99, and you can visit the camp's website at www.eteamz.com/merrimackmudcatsfootballclub, or call Snow at 520-6060 for more information. Registration for the camp, which is still looking for sponsors to go along with big names like Nike and Dick's Sporting Goods, is open right until the day of.

Here is some additional information about the camp directly from the website:

"P.R.I.D.E Football Camp is a two day youth full contact football camp for players aged 7 - 18. Our camp instructors are former New England Patriots players with youth and high school football coaches. At this camp, we ensure that each camper will be placed in a group according to their age. Each group will be instructed by a professional & youth coach in the area of the professional's expertise. There are groups for both offensive and defensive fundamentals. Each camper will receive 12 hours of on the field practice and drill time. At P.R.I.D.E Football Camp we stride to ensure that each camper will be trained to become a better, more confident football player than when they arrived."

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