Former NFL players host football camp for local kids

Nicole Miller

Tim Wrightman, owner of Lazy Bear Ranch on Weiser River Road, and a former standout player with the NFL’s Chicago Bears, recently hosted a football camp benefiting 34 middle school-aged children from around the area.
 Wrightman grew up in a single parent home. His mom worked three jobs, and extra money for football camps and other activities was just not there. Wrightman created his foundation and this football camp to help kids in the area growing up in similar environments.
 Wrightman attributes much of his success to the hard work of his mom and other mentors in his life that taught him the importance of character and academics. He hopes that through this football camp these 34 young men were given at least a taste of that same inspiration.
 Wrightman said this was the first of what he hopes to grow into a yearly tradition expanded to multiple camps throughout the summer including youth from all over the Treasure Valley and Upper Country.
 Wrightman invited Weiser High School head football coach Tom Harrison to assist with this first camp, and Wrightman shared that Harrison was a huge part of the success of the event.
 Wrightman felt that when it came to the engagement of the kids, there was no question who did most of the heavy lifting making sure everyone was focused and getting the most they could out of the camp.
 “He’s going to do some great things. It’s in his heart to go above and beyond,” Wrightman said.
 Wrightman looks forward to continuing to work with Harrison as they plan future camps.
 “He is professional. It is clear why he has such great success working with youth. He has that ‘it’ factor,” Wrightman said.
 Also on board to help with this first camp  was Jay Schroeder, former Oakland Raiders quarterback, and Gary Fencik, a former teammate from Wrightman’s time with the Bears.
 Along with football skills the group focused on taking time for life skills and character and integrity “chalk talk.”
 Each of the players took the time to get real with the boys about overcoming adversity and facing difficult choices. Wrightman shared that the Q and A time was especially powerful and he was really impressed by the clear level of engagement and participation from all of the young men.
 “I want to teach them to never give up and always show up,” Wrightman said.
 The participants for the camp were chosen by the middle school coaches, and while this camp started small, Wrightman definitely sees the need in the area to increase numbers.
 “We started small, but if we affected even one of the 34 boys there, then we will have made a difference,” he said.
 This first camp was funded through donations – supportive friends that Wrightman has made throughout his years playing football and hosting hunting trips, including Lisa Horzen, Keith Bryant and Joe Malay.
 As the foundation and the camps continue to grow, Wrightman has looked for more ways to raise funds that are fun for everyone. Malay hosted a gin rummy tournament which will continue as an annual event.
 The big fundraiser the foundation is planning for is the new annual cardboard boat regatta. This is sure to be an event to remember that will offer a fun team building experience for all.
 The event will take place at Lazy Bear Ranch on June 15 and will kick off with over 20 businesses building cardboard boats. They will have until 3 p.m. to get ready to race and hope the boats will float.
 Although the main event will be the cardboard boat races, the day will offer fun for all with food trucks on site, live auctions, games and live music from local bands.
 The event is free to spectators looking to come support the event. Wrightman shared that he is hopeful that families will come as the event promises to be fun for all ages.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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