2004 marks the 10th season for the Jaguars, and it also marks the 10th year the two wide receivers, better known as 'Thunder' & 'Lightning,' have played host to the Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith Football Camp. The camp was held from June 9th – 13th at Jacksonville University.
Since its inception in 1995, the camp has hosted as many as 14,000 athletes, and some are currently playing at the college level.
"Every year we get tremendous and outstanding feedback from the parents," said Smith.
Among the daily activities during the camp, the players (campers) participate in daily instruction, lectures and demonstrations on football fundamentals. The campers are also exposed to one-on-one instruction from professional football players.
Another advantage for young athletes to participate in the camp is that there are opportunities for scholarships and recruitment. The majority of the coaching staff for high school age campers is made up of college coaches.
"One thing I can say is that we have a lot of good talent out there. Each year the talent level rises…that's good to know the word is getting around," Smith said.
Young athletes interested in participating in the camp have the option of staying four nights in a dorm room on the campus of Jacksonville University, or commuting to camp for five days.
After the first few days of camp, the camaraderie between the athletes grows strong. After three practices a day, the kids get the opportunity to unwind from an eventful day during the evening. Many of the campers play basketball, eat pizza, or just hang out and watch TV together.
"It's a little bit of work with the heat here in Florida, but the kids have a really good time," Smith added.
The goal of the camp is to give each camper the best football instruction on hand, and a program they will never forget. At the end of camp, trophies, medals and awards are presented to outstanding campers, and during this time the campers get the opportunity to get autographs from several NFL players from the Jaguars and other teams.
"We also stress being responsible and being respectful to others," Smith explains. "It doesn't just stop at football. We go over and beyond just football stuff," he added.
The turn out for this year was very good. The camp had over 100 participants, and the duo looks to exceed this number for next year. Jimmy admits the key to a successful camp are the coaches, and both he and Keenan give high praise and much gratitude to those coaches who provide their assistance during their camp.
"At the end of the day, the last day, you see campers that hate to see camp over with; wishing there was another camp," said Smith.