Calling an audible from the sideline, a student-athlete at the 4th and 1 Football Camp decides to study a little SAT Verbal with lead instructor Kim Harbin (l.) during practice on the field of Sam Parker Field in Mt. Pleasant (Photo: Brandi Virden)
Calling an audible from the sideline, a student-athlete at the 4th and 1 Football Camp in Mt. Pleasant decides to study a little SAT Verbal with lead instructor Kim Harbin (l.) during football practice at Sam Parker Field (Photo: Brandi Virden)

For centuries, the great philosophers debated the relationship of the mind, body and spirit, and the role one has in influencing the other(s) in assessing the essence of man.  In the 21st century, the 4th and 1 Football Camp has been one of the embodiments of enriching all of those aspects, and has made a profound difference in the lives of hundreds of teenagers across the country.

This special edition of The A Lot of Sports Talk Podcast concentrates on the camp, an amalgamation of football athletic training, SAT/ACT preparation and life skills courses, the only one of its kind in North America. The non-profit organization, which targets underserved neighborhoods as well as children of low-income families, was started in 2010 by Daron Roberts, a Mt. Pleasant, Texas native and Harvard law school graduate who went on to coach in the National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. Among other things, we spoke with Roberts about what inspired him to start the camp, how much of a leap of faith it was to begin a coaching career and eschewing his original career path, what he looks for in a student-athlete at the camp and how the organization is a reflection of the town he grew up in.

Two years after the organization’s inception in Mt. Pleasant, 4th and 1 expanded to East Lansing, Mich., and in the following year, to Jacksonville, Fla. One of the campers in the inaugural Jacksonville camp, Dorian Clark, ended up becoming the first alum of 4th and 1, in any location, to be accepted to play football at a Division 1-FBS school, as he will attend the University of Idaho.  Clark called in to the show and described his family’s reaction when he was accepted to attend college, the meaning to him in having the Jacksonville Jaguars being a sponsor of the camp and showing its support, as well as whether he had heard of the city of Moscow, Idaho before his visit to the university.

Finally, our podcast ends with an emotional conversation with third-year Mt. Pleasant camp attendee Ralph “Trey” Rivera, as well as his mother, Joy Kimble. Inspired by his continued participation in the camp, Rivera and his mother started their own camp, Camp S.T.R.I.V.E., emulating the 4th and 1 model and assisting middle-school students experiencing difficulties in their own personal lives.  They talk to us about their camp and how they have reached out to their community to spread the word, the growth of Trey in his adolescence and how the family overcame the loss of Trey’s father when Trey was a child.  Also, the conversation ends with an ode to one of the volunteers who works at the camp, D.C. federal prosecutor Vivian Chum, who has become a mentor to Trey and, for all intents and purposes, an addition to the family.

Please enjoy the podcast, and leave us any and all comments that you have. Click here to go to the A Lot of Sports Talk podcast page on iTunes, and from there, you can download this show as well as subscribe to our podcast page and receive new episodes on your device the second it is posted. You can also open iTunes, and in the Podcasts section, type in “A Lot of Sports Talk” in the search box to find our shows.

Interview Order: Intro (0:00-5:03); Daron Roberts (5:05-22:11); Dorian Clark (22:24-31:57); Trey Rivera/Joy Kimble (32:11-49:51); Wrap-up w/Jake Joseph (49:52-52:06)

[Cover photo (4th & 1 student-athletes and volunteers) courtesy of Sonya Roberts-Woods]

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