Children invited to Johnson camp

Published 12:52 am Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Selma native and current NFL player Michael Johnson will host his annual football camp Saturday, April 21.

From NFL quarterbacks Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers to wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss, it seems fans get to see their favorite stars in action only on television. Thanks to one local organization, meeting your favorite players face to face can now be possible.

Selma native and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson will hold his third annual Michael Johnson Youth and Football and Cheer Camp Saturday, April 21 beginning 9 a.m. inside Memorial Stadium. The camp is open to the public and will give children ages 8 to 17 a chance to learn about scholarships and meet professional athletes.

Program organizer Thomasene Johnson, mother to Michael, said the event is different from times past — more community driven.

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“We’re really pushing the community to come out … we’re planning a full day … it’s going to be fun,” Thomasene said. “At 11:30 a.m., we’ll have the ‘Let’s Move Selma!’ campaign. Everyone, come and participate in exercises and dance.”

Camp for ages 8 to 12 will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Students must register at 8:30 a.m. There will be an autograph session from 11 a.m. to noon and camp for ages 13 to 17 will start at 1 p.m. Local cheerleaders and a live community band will perform during halftime. Vendors and a NFL camp store will also be open.

“They’ll (participants) leave there with a lot of stuff,” Thomasene said. “We want to bless the kids and we want to make sure we get them exposed to scholarships on the next level.”

The Johnson’s will also hold a Michael Johnson Roast and Silent Auction Fundraiser Friday, April 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. inside Brownstone Manor. The cost is $20 and will include special appearances from NFL players and coaches. Selma native and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ben Obomanu will also be in attendance.

Thomasene said Michael is very excited about the upcoming events.

“The roast is going to be a lot of fun — it always is,” Thomasene said. “This year we want to keep it (the events) simple, more affordable and that way it’s more available for all kids to come … Each year, Michael looks to get different players and different people to come; you can donate anywhere from $20 on up.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased from Truax & Co., Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, online at or by calling 419-3544.

Thomasene said the event is a way to “give back” to Selma.

“You don’t meet guys on this caliber in Selma … and since Michael is in the position he is, we want to do what we can to give back,” Thomasene said. “I want to encourage the community to come out and support us.”