By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Writer
It’s that time again and the official months of summer are upon us. This means it’s also time for Dr. Carnel Smith’s, Annual Summer Football Camp. Beginning on Monday June 13, and for the rest of the week, the Football Camp will be in session at Scott High School. To help fund this project there was a stupendous fundraiser at the Trunk Social Club, which is located in north Toledo, out Stickney, on Friday night May 27, 2022. More than 150 people dropped in and out throughout the evening to contribute to the cause and enjoy the congenial atmosphere that was overflowing with old-school soul music, delicious eats, and Bulldog Fever! It was a happy crowd that was only completed when Dr. Carnel Smith and his wife, Celeste, arrived, that’s when the party really got started.
Once again it was a fun and enjoyable affair among people, who had something in common, and that was the love of Scott High School, and its principal, Dr. Carnal Smith! They came to help and support his current endeavor. “All the money we collect here tonight will go to the Football Camp,” said Mrs. Celeste Smith, the wife of Dr. Smith. “It’s all about the kids, everyone gets a free t-shirt, backpack, and a water bottle. The camp is all about positivity, with so much negativity going on in the world, we want to present something positive to the children in our community. Tonight, my heart is full because of all the support we are getting from our family and friends. They have supported us from the beginning and after 20 years they are still giving us their support. Without their help, the camp would not exist,” she added.
Dr. Carnel Smith explained, “Our free Football Camp is the vehicle we use to teach our young men grades , third through eigth, the much-needed social skills they need to succeed in life. We also teach them how to be a student-athlete. Everyday they have homework they must complete and bring back the next day. We accept no excuses. To be a student-athlete you must maintain a satisfactory academic standing as well. Everybody wants to play football in high school and college, but if you don’t do your homework, the dream is not possible. Those who do their homework every day have the opportunity to win a trophy at the end of the week. We are teaching them to develop a pattern. Go home, do your homework and put it in the free bookbag we gave and bring it back tomorrow completed.”
He stressed, “I insist on this because I’m an educator and I know what education has done for me, as well as, my athletics. If I had not followed this same pattern for myself, I would not be Dr. Carnel Smith today! On the first day of camp, I bring out a deflated football as an example of how life is. One day, the air is going to go out of your football career and your real life begins. That’s when you use your education to make it the rest of the way.” That’s Dr. Smith’s philosophy, athletics and education go hand in hand.
“Being an athlete does not last forever, that’s why we teach what we teach right now so our student are prepared. We also teach them to have confidence and believe in themselves and be responsible. We want them to know they can achieve anything they believe they can achieve. Many of the participants go on and become leaders in the camp, plus some don’t ever play football in school, but they come back, year after year, for the enrichment they receive at the camp. We do this camp for a week and during that week I can see a positive change in the children, and it warms my heart.” he said.
Also attending the fundraiser was Councilwoman, from District 4 Vanice Williams, who presented Dr. Smith with a City Council Resolution celebrating the 20th year of his successful Football Camp.
She said, “I’m here to support Dr. Smith because we need more black men like him who are role models in our community. This is something a lot of our children, in the central city, don’t get to see, a successful and educated black man. He has been a role model for me, as well, and he has turned Scott High School around to be one of the best performing schools in the city.”
In addition, he received acknowledgments from Toledo’s Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, and Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson of District 44.
Additional funds for the camp come from other donations, a raffle during the event, and Grants from The city of Toledo and the Mental Health and Recovery Board.
To participate in this year’s camp, students should show up at Scott High School on June 13, 2022, with a parent or guardian and a medical card at 10:00 am sharp to register.