RAYNHAM — Chief James Donovan and School Resource Officer Louis Pacheco are pleased to announce that the Raynham Police Department is once again hosting their J.O.C.K.S. Football Camp for young athletes this week.
Raynham Police’s 21st annual J.O.C.K.S. (Juvenile Organization of Cops and Kids Sports) Football Camp began on Monday, Aug. 9 at the Merrill Elementary School in Raynham. The camp, which is open to all children ages 7 to 14, is hosted for two hours every night for a week straight.
“After missing out on the camp last year due to COVID-19, it’s great to be back with one another watching as our high school football players mentor and coach the younger athletes in our community,” SRO Pacheco said. “With the older and younger kids, parents, friends and community partners all here in support of our program it truly is a complete community camp.”
At the camp, the 150 attending elementary and middle school-aged children learn the fundamentals of football and safety practices such as safe tackling forms, concussion prevention techniques and more from approximately 50 Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School football players.
The program was launched in 1999 by SRO Pacheco after he noticed the costs of youth football rising and more kids having to sit out of programs because families couldn’t afford for them to play. To combat this obstacle and ensure that every kid who wanted to play in the Raynham Giants Youth Football League had the opportunity to do so, SRO Pacheco started the J.O.C.K.S. Football Camp with the goal of establishing a fund that covered the costs of the youth league for those who couldn’t afford it.
As such, the $50 registration fee for the J.O.C.K.S. Football Camp is contributed directly to the fund. The money collected from the camp is then dispersed to those in the Raynham Giants Youth Football League who are in need of financial support, and funds are also sometimes used to purchase additional safety equipment when needed and to sponsor kids to go to the J.O.C.K.S. Football Camp as well.
Added SRO Pacheco, “It’s our goal that with this fund no child will get turned away or be deterred from participating in youth football due to the costs associated with the sport. With this fund, children in our community can play no matter what.”
In addition to the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School football players who volunteer, Raynham Police Sgt. Frank Pacheco, SRO Pacheco’s brother, also coaches at the camp. Numerous Raynham Police personnel can be found volunteering at the camp on any given night as well, and the Raynham Fire Department can also be found hosing the kids down with a fire engine at the conclusion of practices.
At tonight’s practice, camp goers will participate in a mock NFL combine that tests their skills through sets of different drills. Then tomorrow, to commemorate the end of the camp, volunteers will present camp-goers with trophies, certificates and awards and a pizza party to bring this year’s camp to a close.
“It’s great to see what SRO Pacheco and the other volunteers have accomplished with the J.O.C.K.S. Football Camp,” Chief Donovan said. “Not only do the kids get the opportunity to interact and practice with one another ahead of the town league, but the money raised also further supports the kids in town by providing the financial resources needed to participate in the town league.”