We take a moment during each of the Final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013 to look at various aspects of the Charlotte 49ers football program.


Camps on Campus

June 24, 2013

By Tom Whitestone

The past few weeks, the Charlotte 49ers have been busy hosting camps and clinics:  The Little Niners Camp in mid-June, the Elite Prospect Camp, June 19 and a first-ever Women's Clinic in between.  Earlier in May, the 49ers hosted a Belk Bowl Clinic tied into the city's headlining College Bowl Game.

Each of the camps catered to different audiences:  the Little Niners, for instance, focuses on kids aged 7 to 13 who may be just getting their start in football, the Elite Prospect camp is for rising high school juniors and seniors, who are looking to make their mark in the sport and the women's clinic is designed to allow the participating women to learn more about the sport.

The camps, like the other summer camps offered by the 49ers athletic teams, offer the fringe benefit of bringing people to campus.  Exposure.

During the Elite Camp parents and athletes wandered throughout the stadium and around the practice fields.  They passed by the 49ers baseball, softball, soccer, track and field and tennis stadiums.  With lunch at Crown Commons, the athletes enjoyed  the short walk along the brick pavers from the football stadium to the university's Student Union.  They were here for football, but they saw a whole lot more.

Parents took pictures of the 49ers football statues, posted images of the stadium and marveled at the facilities they passed along the way.

The women's clinic gave participants and inside look at the sport of football, while showing off the Rose Football Center.  Attendees learned about the gear and pads the players wear and the safety measures they address, they took in a presentation from referees to learn about the penalties, calls and signals and they took part in some of the on-field drills they players go through on a regular basis.

Comments from the Little Niners camp mentionned that it was among the best sports camp that parents had sent their children to, both in terms of the organization and efficiency and also in terms of the guidance and development.

All brought different folks to campus -- but all focused on three keys:  Education, good will and exposure. 

As a start-up program, the 49ers need as many people to experience its program as possible.  The 49ers needs as many opportunities to create strong connections with the community -- whether it be an aspiring high school senior, a wise-eyed kid who is getting his first chance to run on the stadium turf or a parent who has never before been to campus.

Head coach Brad Lambert and his staff, for the way they conduct these camps, for the way they participate in these camps and for the way they engage the attendees, have earned rave reviews from those who have visited.

People may have come here intending to learn about football, which they did, but they also learned a great deal about the 49ers -- the staff, the facilities, the campus.

The 49ers camps and clinics may enhance many a physical attribute -- they can improve footwork or build arm strength -- but they are definitely going to open eyes.