Growth camp builds leadership skills

by Shawn Nowlin

Youth mentor Brandon McCall with kids at his football growth camp.

  Famed poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once said, “The best way to help a child reach their full potential is to provide them with unconditional support.”

  Brandon McCall not only agrees with that sentiment; he uses his platform to help equip Roanoke Valley youth with all the resources they need to become the best version of themselves. McCall’s upbringing fueled his passion for helping others. Often feeling like he had no support when he was in the eighth grade, something happened that changed the trajectory of McCall’s life.

  “When I was 14, my brother took the life of someone. I realized at that moment that I could either go down the same path as my brother or choose another path,” he said. “I made the decision to start hanging out with mentors, principals, and teachers who I felt were doing the right thing. That decision led me on the path o

f making better life decisions, and I’ve never looked back.”

  McCall is the founder of McCall Motivation, LLC., created to give real people real-life motivation.

  The annual camp was held from June 29 to July 1 between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Belmont Park. Day one focused on offense while the second and third days focused on defense and 7-on-7 games, respectively. Approximately 35 kids between the ages of nine and 13 participated in the camp and learned vital life skills from coaches, mentors, and educators. Filmmaker and content creator Justin Patton helped capture many of the visuals.

  As camp participants went through the activities, several parents sat in portable chairs cheering them on. Charlies Parker was extremely proud of her son, AJ, for pushing himself and giving his best effort. “I always tell him that whatever he does in life, he should always give maximum effort. He needs to understand that he’s not going to excel at everything. But if you put in the necessary work, most of the time you’ll get the results you desire.

 His attention to detail is incredible for his age,” Parker said.

Youth mentor Brandon McCall instructs kids at the camp.

  McCall knows first-hand the impact adults investing in children can have.

“I just want to be able to invest in students to let them see the other side of growth and development, even if it is using sports. My coaches always used to tell me that I can use this in everyday life, and I never really understood that until now. So, if we can feed that to our children at an early age, that would be excellent,” McCall said.

  He added, “I remember seeing the faces of the kids not being able to understand what was going on and I resonated with that feeling. So, I started coaching from the fundamentals of a growth mindset. The community shapes the philosophy of our youth. It’s the foundation of their thoughts and that foundation needs to be solid with love, mentorship, power, and confidence. That’s why I want to continue to grow and invest in my community.’’

Another growth camp is scheduled for later this month. 

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