Former UW Badger and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Lee Evans is back in Madison to host a three day football camp for youths of every age.
The daily camp, which is being run in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, will give youths from the area the chance to build teamwork skills and life skills they can use both on and off the football field.
“I want the kids to learn some team dynamics, learn what it’s like to be part of a team and then learn some skills in football as well,” Evans told Madison365. “We’re going to be doing some team building drills, so it’s a little more than just football.”
For the past few years, Boys and Girls Club has used former Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown to run the summer camp. But for this year the BGCDC felt it was best to reach out to someone with more of a local connection.
“We’ve been doing a celebrity football camp for a few years now. The first couple years it was with Gilbert Brown and we had a great time with that experience,” Boys and Girls Club CEO Rod Mitchell told Madison365. “We thought more recently that we should have a more localized connection. So (former Badger linebacker) Jeff Mack, a member of our program committee, reached out to Lee. Also Brandon Williams played with them together at UW. So the connection between them and Lee, and them and the club made it a common sense ask for us to get Lee to come here.”
The camp kicked off Tuesday morning in the football field at Warner Park. Staff members of the Boys and Girls Club scurried around making sure that the kids had a free breakfast (with free lunch scheduled for the next group of kids). Each kid received a “Lee Evans Football Camp” T-shirt and the chance to refine their skills with a Badger legend.
The morning session was reserved for the elementary school aged kids with junior high and High School campers arriving later in the afternoon. A bus chartered by the Boys and Girls Club brought the majority of the campers to Warner Park.
The primary focus for the camp this year is to get kids familiar with the concepts of building a team, working together with others and striving to reach a common goal.
“We had discussions about making sure that kids understand the whole team concept first and then play the sport,” Mitchell continued. “The first two hours of the camp was teambuilding and then football drills. The kids really enjoy the team building exercises.”
Evans, who played for Wisconsin from 1999 through 2003, led the Big Ten in receiving yards twice and finished his Badger career 12th all-time in the Big 10 with 27 receiving touchdowns. Evans was the 13th pick in the 2004 NFL draft and played in the NFL for a decade.
Now, Evans wants to give back to Madison, where he came of age.
“It’s great to be working with the Boys and Girls Club,” Evans told Madison365. “I’ve worked with them a lot of different places I’ve been and I’ve always liked the programs they have. It’s great to be doing it here with them and to come back to Madison is great. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got a lot of my teammates here and so it’s always good to get around some of the guys. We’re going to have as much fun as the kids.”
The Lee Evans Football Camp starts at 10 am Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week at Warner Park. The camp is free for kids and will meet rain or shine.