Anyone that’s watched Tim Dwight dart across NFL gridirons the last nine years knows his success and longevity have as much to do with heart and hard work as natural ability.
Six years ago, the former Iowa and Iowa City High star embarked on a mission to pass along his work ethic and knowledge to local athletes in a way of giving back to the community.
The Tim Dwight Football Camp kicks off Year 6 on Wednesday, June 20, for three days jammed with tutoring. It will be held at City High for those interested age 8-18 and all proceeds go to the Tim Dwight Foundation.
Last year, the camp drew an impressive 700 participants, more than doubling the Year 1 total of 300.
“It’s been pretty amazing how the community has responded, not just in Iowa City but in surrounding areas,” the fleet-footed New York Jets wideout said. “The camp has grown. I feel and hope that it’s one of the better camps in the country. But it still has a ways to go.”
The Dwight Camp is broken into three groups – elementary school, junior high and high school. While the event draws a lot from the first two age brackets, the oldest faction is below where the host would like it.
“We have a lot of the younger kids, which is great,” Dwight said. “It’s important to teach those kids about football. But I’d like to get to a point where all of our age groups are pretty equal.
“This year we’re really making a conscious effort of creating more of a professional type practice with the high school kids. We’ll do more one on ones where they learn a little more about technique. We’ll play a lot more seven on sevens. We’re doing more stuff that I do during training camp and during the year.
“With the younger kids, we’re teaching them how big the field is and where to line up; what Cover 1 and Cover 2 is. With the older kids, I want them to be more active in taking what we’re teaching them onto the field.”
After last year’s turnout, Dwight instituted a cap of 700. Ideally, smaller numbers might even work better.
“ I’d like to see it at 600, 200 across the board,” Dwight said. “Seven hundred is a little large. When you get too big, you start losing quality of the one on one time with the kids. I like to have my ratios at 10-1. We have 60 coaches, so 600 would be a good number.”
Dwight brings in coaches from each level of college ball as well as high school coaches. They take the campers through drills and workouts on the field as well as classroom instruction.
“The coaches are the key,” Dwight said. “Last year, it rained on us the first day. We had 700 kids in the gym. So having those guys that have that range of ability to make the camp still work is super, super key.
“You live and die by your coaches not by your stars that come in for one day and play around with the kids and say hi and stuff.”
Guys like Doug Flutie and Drew Brees have worked with campers in the past. Those guys bowed out this year due to prior engagements.
Sage Rosenfels, A.J. Feely, Eric Parker, Mike Goff, Eddie Berlin and Nate Kaeding are among those expected to attend this year’s camp.
“We’ve got some good guys coming in, but you know, it’s not all about,” Dwight said. “I love having those guys. It’s fantastic. It’s great that I get guys to come in.
“But I want my kids also coming there to work and learn about football. I want them to understand that this is a working football camp and not something where you’re just going to meet stars. You’re going to walk away from this having learned about what it takes to compete at the NFL level, the college level and the high school level and what football entails. It’s more than just showing up and just putting a jersey on.”
Campers will learn quickly that this is a serious deal when they’re put through nine hours of football instruction each day.
As of late last week, about 150 spots remained available for this year’s camp. To find out more and to sign up, go to www.timdwightcamp.com.