Kelly Stacy has nine years' teaching under his belt and a season of coaching Fox Chapel Middle School's football program. This week he has called on those skills to head up the Brooksville Department of Recreation's flag football camp at the Jerome Brown Community Center.
"I really enjoy the kids. It's the reason I teach and the reason I coach," Stacy said. "The teaching helps me to manage the behavior of kids in this type of situation, and the coaching helps me to organize an event like this."
His main goal in the camp is to allow the kids to have fun. With campers ages 6 to 13 in attendance, he was surprised at how well the kids meshed together on the field from the first day.
Working without assistants, he allows the kids to break into teams at the start of the morning and get right into game mode. Among those taking part in the camp are two middle school football players from Challenger K-8. David Asbell and Nick Russo, both 13, are going into eighth grade and plan on playing major roles for the program this fall. Russo hopes to start at cornerback for the Gators.
Another Challenger student, Jeremy Kraus, 11, also loves the experience. Heading into sixth grade, Kraus has played organized football at the Hernando County YMCA and for i9 Sports, a local youth football league.
"(Coach Stacy) is a real good coach," Kraus said. "Another big reason I like it so much is because I have a lot of friends there with me."
Stacy said a 6-year-old named Brian Martin immediately caught his eye when the program began Monday. He caught every ball thrown in his direction.
In the past, numbers for camps such as this one over the summer have reached as high as 30. Whether it is the economy or another reason, the attendance figures haven't been anywhere near that so far.
The focus of the camp, with only 12 kids signed up, isn't on advancing the football skills of the participants in only a week. However, the seeds have been planted for the campers to improve the way they throw, catch and run. In the end, the main goal is to leave them all happy and wanting more.
"I want these kids to look back and be glad they (came to this camp)," Stacy said, "and hopefully, they want to do it again next year."
Stacy will be stepping down as Fox Chapel coach this season in favor of assistant John Fego. Stacy will continue to assist with the Tigers while also assisting with his son Mason's competitive travel baseball club, the Brooksville Bombers.
"I am very glad I am doing (this camp)," Stacy said. "Big or small, it doesn't matter because we're doing it for the kids who are there. If I am improving the summer for a handful of kids, I am doing my job."