Chase Daniel's ProCamp for children comes to Memorial Stadium

Saturday, June 22, 2013 | 8:49 p.m. CDT
Former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel returned to Columbia to host a football ProCamp for boys and girls ages first through eighth grades.

COLUMBIA — Kyle Nunn could throw a football at 2 years old. 

Now 8 years old, football is something he will definitely continue and succeed in, his mother, Dana Morton, said.

"It's gonna be his passion," she said.

The sound of more than 200 children chanting "M-I-Z-Z-O-U" echoed across Faurot Field on Saturday morning as they speckled the turf in matching white shirts during the first day of the Chase Daniel Football ProCamp, a two-day camp for boys and girls in first through eighth grades.

Kyle is beginning his third year of football, his mom said. He began playing when he was in first grade. Morton said normally kids aren't supposed to start playing until second grade, but his dad signed him up for the team early.

From St. Louis, the family traveled to Columbia for the weekend after Kyle's father, a loyal Chase Daniel fan, heard about the camp online. Of course, Kyle likes whatever his dad likes, Morton said.

Kyle just finished his flag football season two weeks ago. He told his mom Daniel needs good running backs like him, she said.

This year marks the first year of the camp and Daniel's return to Missouri. The Kansas City Chiefs signed Daniel earlier this year. Daniel said he wanted to start the camp a couple years ago, but it didn't work out.

The national ProCamp program was started in 1998. Since then, the program has grown quickly, ProCamp spokesman Nick Berta said. This year, there are about 100 camps throughout the country, up from 75 last year.

The Columbia camp partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide scholarships to campers, according to Berta. A total of 80 players received scholarships to the camp. The camp costs $149.

More than 20 coaches from high schools and colleges helped Daniel coach the young players. The camp encompassed a lot of the fundamentals of football, Daniel said. It was meant to be fun but the players should learn, too, he said.

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel was at the camp and talked to the kids about things other than football: honesty and kindness.

A big part of the camp was teaching lessons that would serve the kids in other aspects of their life. Daniel said sometimes it's better to hear things like "stay in school," "be honest" and "be nice to each other" from coaches and other athletes.

Daniel said he hopes to improve and grow the camp to something outside of Columbia. He wants to expand it into Texas, he said.

"One thing that's pretty cool is that it's on Missouri's field," said Berta. Normally the kids play on recreational fields, he said. But this one is special.

"This place will always be a special place," Daniel said. "It means a lot to be on Faurot at MU."

Supervising editor is Katie Moritz.

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