For the fifth consecutive year, members of the Eastlake Wolves football program shared their knowledge and expertise with youthful football players on the Eastside.
The Eastlake Wolves conducted their annual True Champions camp, which is for players between first and eighth grade, from July 17-19 at Eastlake High School in Sammamish. The Wolves coaching staff and varsity players led the camp.
Eastlake senior wide receiver Hank Pladson said it was an awesome experience to give back to the community.
“It is so much fun. [The kids are] full of energy. We get to make a difference in their lives, make them better football players and better people,” Pladson said.
Pladson, who was an eighth grader in the summer of 2013, had fond memories of attending the camp during his junior high days.
“I remember in eighth grade I was camper of the week at this camp. That is when I first met [Don] Bartel and where it all started. The camp is great because the kids here build relationships with the coaches and players. It is awesome,” Pladson said.
Eastlake Wolves head coach Don Bartel, who was hired to lead the Eastlake football program in 2013, loves seeing the connection between current Wolves players and the youthful campers in attendance.
“When [the kids] come to our camps, they can look down on the field and say ‘that was my coach at camp.’ That is the best,” Bartel said. “I remember as a kid, I knew all of the names of the [high school] players from the old Orting days (Bartel grew up in Orting). We loved those guys.”
Bartel said a multitude of players in Eastlake’s senior class this fall were in attendance at the first youth football camp in the summer of 2013. The three-day camp focuses on the fundamentals of the sport as well as competitive games to ensure each player leaves the plateau with a passion for football.
“We run a lot of different stations. We have a run game station, passing station and a defensive station. They learn some running plays, some passing players and learn how we pursue on defense. We try to give them a little bit of everything. They do a really good job at it. It is really cool,” Bartel said.