The sport of football has been pretty special to Superior High School football coach Bob DeMeyer.
The former Spartan quarterback went on to play the game at the collegiate level with the UW-Superior Yellowjackets and then professionally in various leagues, including overseas and eventually on the Duluth-Superior Lumberjacks’ indoor team.
DeMeyer now would like to pass along some of his vast football knowledge, and with the help of Paige Gilbertson, will host the Superior Spartan Football Champions Camp for students with special needs from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2 at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.
“Our goal is to provide an awesome, unforgettable experience for students with special needs and all those involved,” DeMeyer said. “We know that every child and adult that will be involved will benefit tremendously. We also believe that all participants will enjoy interacting with many kids, adults, coaches and student-athletes.
“Everyone will have a blast while learning various football related skills and developing their social interaction skills.”
DeMeyer and his coaching staff attempted to run a similar camp two years ago.
“We started getting things rolling a little bit, but it just didn’t pull together,” DeMeyer said. “It’s something our coaching staff has wanted to do for a number of years now and this time around we got Paige on board.”
Gilbertson is a special education teacher at SHS, where she graduated from in 2013. She went on to graduate from UW-Superior in December and is pursuing her master’s degree.
Besides playing hockey for the Spartans, Gilbertson was a football team manager all four years of high school.
“Football is right up my alley, I’m used to getting everybody involved,” Gilbertson said. “This camp will help special need students with recognition and help them get to know more kids from school. It may also help get kids more involved with extracurricular activities that normally don’t get that involved.
“Our football team has such a good following and the kids might want to go to more games and watch a certain person play because they know it’s someone who helped them in this camp.”
DeMeyer added that the camp may also benefit his players and coaches.
“It will be a learning experience for everyone involved,” DeMeyer said. “It will be a fun opportunity to be educated on certain things and just interact and be involved with kids that we normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that with.”
The camp is free of charge and open to any student with a disability.
“Any student with special needs is welcome,” DeMeyer said. “They don’t have to be just part of the Superior school district, they can come from anywhere -- I don’t care if they come from Texas -- we just want as many kids as we can get.”
Camps of this nature are becoming more popular.
“I know Kimberly (Wis.) and Minnetonka (Minn.) run these type of camps and they’ve been very successful and keep getting bigger each year,” DeMeyer said. “We want to do more to reach out to the community, educate our kids and give students with special needs opportunities they normally wouldn’t have.
“This is the first year, so we’ll see how it goes. But I do know that if there’s one kid or 1,000 kids, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
NOTES: The camp will used a circuit system with different skills at each station. Each circuit will include players and coaches that will go from station to station with each of the students. … One of the stations in the circuit will allow campers have their photo taken with Sparty, the SHS mascot.