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Bohanon camp held at North High despite COVID concerns

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jul 24, 2020

The football field at North Fort Myers High School on Saturday had a little more open space than it did in the past for the annual Tommy Bohanon Foundation’s annual football camp.

However, the good news is that they were able to hold the camp after several postponements and doubts it could take place.

After more than 230 kids participated in last year’s camp, less than a third took part this year due to the pandemic.

Katie Bohanon, Tommy’s wife who also runs the foundation, said it was nice to be able to do the camp and care was taken.

“We want to make sure all the kids are safe and secure as well as our coaches and volunteers,” Katie said. “We didn’t want kids of different ages intermingling so we limited the number of each age group to 10 and 100 overall.”

Katie said the parents were thrilled to get a few hours of freedom after being cooped up with their children for four months as well as being able to get their children some fresh air and exercise after many other activities have been cancelled.

Extra precautions were taken this year. Campers were dropped off after being preregistered online application. Their temperatures were taken, waiver forms filled out and the kids were on their way.

Campers were encouraged to social distance, with groups held to a maximum of 10, and all equipment was sanitized after each phase, giving the kids an opportunity to chug water between stations, even as clouds and some showers hit the area.

Tommy, of course, ran the show, timing everything down to the minute of what everyone was going to do. He said he was happy to finally get approval for the camp, since he was running out of options regarding dates to hold it after several postponements.

“We got approval two weeks ago, so we had to do crunch time and get everything done fast and be as safe as possible,” Bohannon said. “We try to put on three or four events per year and one of them was the big fundraiser that we have postponed to September. This has dampened it, but we’re still trying to help out the community.”

Sixty-five children took part and there were roughly 20 volunteers and coaches. Among them was Dwayne Mack, North Fort Myers head football coach, who makes sure he comes out for this camp every year.

“Any time Tommy puts on a camp, we’re going to be here. He’s done so much for the community, at Riverdale, Dunbar, all these schools,” Mack said. “That’s why you have coaches and kids from those schools helping out.”

As for the kids, Weston Haupt, 13, whose father was one of the coaches, said he was excited to finally get on the field.

“I haven’t had a chance to play much football because of the coronavirus. I’m happy that Tommy has made this possible for us,” Weston said. “It’s going to be very exciting to get the blood flowing.”

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