Football camp prepares inner city kids for the future


On bright the green artificial turf at Oakland's Laney College, 50 inner city boys run through a series of football drills, all wearing white t-shirts with the words "I am somebody" printed on the back.

It's the final day of a three-day program called "Homeboys Football Camp." Here, the kids learn something about football and hopefully, a little more about life, like building character and making good decisions.

"Actually, football is a great teacher of all those things," said camp founder and head coach Tyrone Dixon. "Somebody gets knocked down every play is what we tell them. And you have to learn how to get up."

This is the first time Dixon has brought his Homeboys camp to Oakland. For the past six years, he's run the same program in Pennsylvania.

But Dixon and his brother Anton have family in Oakland, and their mother owns a business downtown.

"Oakland is my second home," said Tyrone Dixon. "We want to bring a positive attitude and positive effect to the kids here in Oakland."

The camp costs just $10 per day and includes a hearty lunch. Those kids whose families can't pay are given a "scholarship" thanks to sponsorships from several local churches.

Sixteen-year-old Rodney Lawson appreciates that the camp can help keep kids like him out of trouble.

"It's not all about football," said Lawson. "It just gives everybody something else to do, keeps them off the street."

Dixon plans to bring his "Homeboys" camp back to Oakland next summer and hopefully expand it, from a few days to a week or longer. He also hopes to attract many more kids.

For anyone who wants more information about Homeboys Football Camp, call Anton Dixon (510) 858-7617 or send him an e-mail to:

For more information about the foundation, visit

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