MCAS Cherry Point News


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Markis B. is all smiles after catching a football during the Steve Smith ProCamp at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., June 24, 2014. The installation was selected to host the camp for the second time after winning a contest between commissaries throughout the country.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

Steve Smith inspires Cherry Point youth

27 Jun 2014 | Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

Baltimore Ravens superstar, Steve Smith is most known for his hands, but the children of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point know him primarily for his heart.

The five-time Pro Bowler brought his football ProCamp and a message of hard work and honesty here for the second consecutive year June 23 – 24.

The Cherry Point commissary earned the privilege of hosting the wide receiver and his team after winning a Department of Defense wide competition.

Smith, along with camp directors and a handful of local area football coaches led the camp, focusing on teaching the basic fundamental skills and techniques of football.

"It feels great to be back," said Smith. "I enjoy doing camps in North Carolina, and I fell in love with the atmosphere the kids brought last year."

Football ProCamps have been occurring nationwide since 1998, but rewarding military installations with the camps started last year. This year, 10 military installations were selected as sites, according to Adam Ross, the chief executive officer of ProCamps.

Ross said the success of last year's camp here increased the number of ProCamps offered at military installations.

"Cherry Point winning last year really opened the door to something special," said Ross. "The appreciation between Steve and military families was genuine. You can tell he's making a difference by the looks on the kids' faces."

Hundreds of family members gathered around Lanham field with cameras in hand to capture their children learning from the best.

"There was a great turnout for the event," said Gunnery Sgt. Joshua D. Ricafrente, the military justice chief with headquarters and headquarters squadron who had two children at the camp. "The interaction between Steve and the kids was great; you could tell they loved every minute of it."

Steve is a positive influence on the campers, according to Ricafrente.

"The most important, beneficial part of the camp was when Steve had question and answer sessions with the kids," said Ricafrente. "They were able to ask him things like 'what does it take to make it to the national football league.'"

Smith encouraged all the campers and gave his input throughout the camp.

"My favorite part of the camp is getting to put on the cleats and work with the kids," said Smith. "Whether I'm playing the defensive back or living out everyone's dream as a quarterback, I love being able to run around and play football."

Smith said the goal at every camp he coaches is to send the message that enthusiasm, hard work and attention to detail are links to everything in life, not just on the football field.

"Football is a craft just like anything else," said Smith. "You have to work at it. What I hope these kids can take away from this camp is apply themselves 100 percent to everything they do, whether that translates to football or becoming a doctor."

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point