NFL Character Camp founder, Reggie Barnes signs autographs alongside former NFL quarterback Tony Banks.

While we’re on the subject of character, I want to shed some light on the NFL Character Camp.

This camp, under the leadership of former NFL linebacker Reggie Barnes, is far from the average run-of-the-mill “kiddie” football camp.

The NFL (Needed For Life) Character Camp leverages our nation’s love for the game of football to help instill positive values and character traits in the children of the today.

Here’s an excerpt from the camp’s website, on it’s purpose:

NFL Character Camp (Needed For Life) was created by former Dallas Cowboy Reggie Barnes to instill and enhance positive character traits, in the lives of young men, through the game of football. Leading the camp are current and former National Football League players including veterans with a combined 12 Super Bowl rings and 60 years of experience – including 3 All Pros and 4 former 1st and 2nd round National Football League draft picks.

I had the pleasure to have a brief conversation with Mr. Barnes not too long ago, and he shared with me what the camp is about, and his vision for the future of it, and I really like what I heard.

When I asked him why his camp stands out from all the other camps around the nation, he told me that at different times during the camp, they’ll call a break, gather the kids together, and have current and/or former NFL players talk to the kids about things like responsibility, and respecting your parents.

I think the concept is absolute genius.

With the NFL being America’s number one pro sport, I’m sure there are kids that would listen to an NFL player, before they’d listen to their own parents.


Look, I’m not saying it’s right.  I’m just saying if that’s the way it is, let’s take “advantage” of that the best way we can, and that’s what the NFL Character Camp is doing.

The camp is just starting to get momentum, and I really hope that the momentum continues.  I really see this program being a good fit for the NFL Prep program that I spoke about recently.

In my opinion, if you’re going to try to mold a kid, and teach him values and morals, you have to catch them early in life, and I think Mr. Barnes is onto something big with this concept.

Football is a great platform to leverage to get in the heads of youth and to help mold them into respectful human beings, regardless of whether or not they make it to the NFL.

As of right now, the NFL Character Camp operates in Texas only, but hopefully it will continue to grow, and spread into other cities around the nation.   The camp features other current and past NFL players, such as Tony Banks, Russell Maryland, Ray Mickens, and several others that donate their time to the camp.

Be sure to check out the website at

Here’s a video of Mr. Barnes, speaking about the NFL Character Camp:


Would you send your son or loved one to the NFL Character Camp, if it was in your area?

Are there any camps like this in your area?  We want to hear from you in the comments section below!

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier 

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