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NEWS | Oct. 20, 2020

Army South Soldier remains dedicated to coaching during pandemic

By Sgt. Ashley Dotson U.S. Army South Public Affairs

About 15 children maintained social distancing as they circled around their football coaches to receive instructions on their next drill. Conducted from Oct. 5-9, this was the first sports camp held on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston since the novel coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year.

“My overall love for sports is why I volunteer,” said Maj. John Twitty, U.S. Army South public affairs plans chief. “I want to teach kids the proper fundamentals and the importance of working together. It was special to be a part of coaching them and continue to have a strong tie with local community.”

With a combined love for the sport of football, Twitty joined another fellow Soldier to ensure the children would be able to attend a football camp and that proper safeguards were put in place.

“Kids need activity and social interaction,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Johnson, Washington Army National Guard medical detachment commander. “We must be careful that we don't do harm to our children while we are trying to avoid risk. Being physically active benefits a kid physically, mentally and emotionally. Sports are a great way to teach life skills.”

Both agreed that coaching during a pandemic was not very different than other football camps they have previously coached. They both continuously reminded the children the importance of practicing social distancing throughout their drills.

“I think it is very important to give back to the community by volunteering,” Twitty said. “While growing up, I always had adults to look up to who were dedicating their time to coach the teams I was on. Now, it’s my turn to give back to my community and teach these kids the importance of teamwork and the basic fundamentals.”

Twitty coached multiple football and basketball camps and teams last year. He said he really enjoyed being able to coach again and he has begun planning practices for a basketball camp he is coaching next month.

“I think that the camp went very well,” Johnson said. “The kids seemed to improve everyday with their skills and their behavior. Most importantly, every kid went home every day with a smile on their face and didn't want it to end. I wish that more kids could have participated and I look forward to doing more camps like this in the future.”