By Peter Schwartz
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For many kids in our area, summertime means going to camp and having plenty of fun. If you’re a youth football player, there’s even more reason to be happy thanks to the creation of a new football camp.
From July 7 through the 10, local youth football players will have a special opportunity to have some fun, hone their skills and learn from some current and former NFL players at the Big Daddy Youth Football Camp at the Covert Avenue Elementary School in Elmont.
Presented by the Nassau County PAL’s Franklin Square/Elmont Unit, the camp was created by Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado, the CEO of Coastal Advisors LLC. Salgado grew up in Nassau County on Long Island and was happy to help make this camp a reality.
“It was a way to give back to the community and the county,” said Salgado, who played football for New Hyde Park Memorial High School in the 1980s.
The camp, for kids ages 8-17, will include all the basics of youth football including fundamentals, passing, receiving, teamwork and sportsmanship. The staff is led by Floral Park High School head coach Michael Spina, Floral Park athletic director Jim Jackman and Sewanaka High School head coach George Kasimatis.
The campers are going to get outstanding instruction from the staff as well as some special guests. The kids will not be wearing any pads but will go through drills and scrimmages. They’ll work up a pretty good sweat, but they’re also going to have a good time.
“It’s very important to have fun and we’re going to make sure they have fun,” said Salgado. “We’re not going to NFL training camp or college camp. This is a fun camp for kids and we’re going to give them all the best coaching and knowledge that we can give them.”
Registration is open to kids from all over the area. Players from Nassau and Suffolk County, Queens and New York City have already signed up. Campers will receive a T-shirt and other giveaways, daily awards and prizes and a final celebration with a barbecue.
More importantly, they are going to get guidance from some familiar faces.
At his day job, Salgado has a client list chock full of current and former NFL players. Since the camp is taking place before NFL training camps start, Salgado is at work lining up some players with local connections to lend a helping hand in teaching the kids.
“You’re going to get people who have been in the trenches and have been through the wars,” said Salgado. “I think it’s like a child going into a library and just having all these different books to pull out to read, because you’re going to get so many different opinions and so many experiences, so I think that’s very beneficial to kids.”
One of the former players who will help out with the camp is former Jets quarterback Neil O’Donnell, Salgado’s college roommate at the University of Maryland.
Salgado said you can’t put a price tag on what this kind of instruction means to a youth football player.
“For the kids aspiring to be quarterbacks, just to have Neil run through the drills and show them everything that he knows, sometimes you can’t buy that,” said Salgado.
Former Giants tight end Howard Cross is also scheduled to be a guest coach at the camp. The staff will keep the kids and their families up to date each day as to other current or former players that will attend. A good resource will be the camp’s Facebook page.
Speaking of the families, they will also get to share in the excitement of the camp with the kids. The hours of the camp will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each night. The evening hours allow working parents, other family members and friends to come out and watch what’s happening and see how much the players are learning.
The football camp is just another way that Salgado gives back to the community. He is also busy planning his annual Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic & Dinner Gala, scheduled for June 22 and 23 at Oheka Castle on Long Island. That event raises money for HAAF, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and North Shore-LIJ Health System.
When the opportunity came to put the football camp together, Salgado was more than happy to lend his name to this project.
“This is special for me because it’s where I grew up,” said Salgado. “When something has my name on it or I’m involved with it, I don’t ever want to disappoint anybody.”
Given all of the success that Salgado has had in his insurance career and with the special projects he has been involved in, this football camp will not disappoint anyone.
There are two ways to register for the camp. You can do it in person Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. at the PAL Clubhouse at 640 Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square.
You can also register online here.
Registration is currently underway but space is limited.
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