Students with special needs will take the field during the Superior Spartan Football Champions Camp, which takes place from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at NBC Spartan Sports Complex, 2600 Catlin Ave.

Superior High School football players will take on new roles, those of cheerleader and coach, as they guide participants through the activities. The camp is free of charge and open to any student with a disability, regardless of what school district they attend.

“We want everyone to come, have an awesome experience and make connections, build relationships and just maybe learn a little bit of football, but most importantly interact with kids of all abilities and adults of all abilities and just to have fun, that’s the number one objective,” said Spartan coach Bob DeMeyer.

Participants will work their way through a series of seven stations with the football players, including a touchdown dive; catching a pass from the Spartan quarterback; punting, passing and kicking with a buddy; as well as a photo with the school mascot, Sparty.

The team hosted its first champions camp in 2018. The annual event wasn’t held in 2020, as the football season was held during the spring due to COVID-19. Past camps have left a deep impression with students.

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Andrew Ward, 11, knocks down a tackling dummy before scoring a touchdown during the 2018 Champions Camp at SHS. 
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram
Andrew Ward, 11, knocks down a tackling dummy before scoring a touchdown during the 2018 Champions Camp at SHS. Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

“I wish I could describe the feeling, other than just how excited and energetic and the joy that everyone was feeling,” DeMeyer said. “The participants had a blast. Their parents and grandparents were here.”

As for the players, he said, it was awesome to see all of them laughing, smiling and interacting with the participants, even team members who were less outgoing and vocal.

“It was a cool experience all around,” DeMeyer said.

Champion’s Camp is meant to provide an unforgettable experience for students with special needs while spreading some smiles and laughs.

“Everyone’s got special abilities and things that they offer to our world, and we just want to make everyone aware of those things and maybe bridge some gaps and help everybody learn and get along,” DeMeyer said.

This year’s camp will be put on by the SHS varsity and freshman teams; the junior varsity team will be on the road. Students can sign up for Champions Camp through the Spartan Football website, http://superiorfootball.net.