After a five year absence, the Yosemite High School football team returned to Hume Lake May 22-24 to participate in a team camp with 10 other schools.
In 2003, the Badgers were one of the first football teams to participate in the camp, and the trip became an integral part of the program from 2003 – 2009, before the dreaded budget ax came down on the retreat as camp costs increased.
It was the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes club and the Yosemite High Football Boosters who shared the costs of the camp this year. The booster club funds came from handling trash and recycling at this spring’s Coarsegold Rodeo.
“The purpose of the camp was to work on team building, football skills, and to develop attainable goals for the program,” said first year head coach JD Burnett. “This was accomplished by team members navigating a high ropes course, winning the paintball competition, and completing the ‘Great Race.’ The Badgers began developing that important bond and trust needed in order to completely come together as a team. And the 7-on-7 competition was the first step in the process of learning to compete again.”
Burnett said lineman competed against each other in contests that ranged from tire flipping to relay races. The teams also participated in paintball wars.
At night, the team gathered around a camp fire, enjoying the pan-fried trout caught earlier in the day, discussing strong points of the program, and past experiences. Team members and coaches also developed some goals for the program.
“One of the goals centered around gaining more community support for the YHS football program.” Burnett said. “Player confidence has decreased in recent years, and we are looking to the community to be our backbone and support this team as we move forward.”
Burnett said players realize that they need to gain confidence in themselves if they are going to expect anyone else to.
“They agreed that the only way to gain confidence in oneself is by knowing that you have done everything in your power to be the best that you can possibly be.” Burnett said. “It’s a lot more difficult to quit or give minimal effort when you have put everything you have into something bigger than yourself.”
The camp concluded with the “Great Race,” a team building race that travels across the entire property. The race included pushing coaches in a golf cart, an eight legged run, and blindfolded canoeing.
“We finished strong completing the race together as a team, with smiles on all the player’s faces, while ‘throwing up the Y.’” Burnett said. “This was the proper ending to a wonderful experience that was definitely a step in the right direction for Badger football.
The football program will begin its summer conditioning program 4-7 p.m., June 15-18. The summer practices will emphasize athletic development through a rigorous strength and conditioning program. June 15 will also be the first day that incoming freshman are allowed to practice with the team.