GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After the camp's first year off since 2006 due to the pandemic last year, the David Harris youth football camp has returned to Grand Rapids.
The Ottawa Hills alum turned eleven-year NFL veteran hosted his annual free youth camp at Houseman Field on Saturday morning for ages eight through thirteen.
"It's a good thing to give back to the community and get these kids out here enjoying their Saturday," Harris said.
Ottawa Hills varsity football coach Christian Verley and his players helped coach the camp and work with players.
"We did not get to do it last year - the pandemic shut us down," Verley explained, "we looked at multiple ways to do it but it just wasn't safe."
Despite making over 50-million dollars in salary in his career, according to Over the Cap, Harris still makes it a priority to return to West Michigan to give back to the area youth.
"Kudos to David," Verley added, "he's a different breed, such a humble man, whatever he can do. You'd think he'd reach stardom and think about himself but he got there and thought about how he could bring the city with him and give another kid an opportunity."
And Harris agrees, the kids are the reason why he comes back.
"I know if I was their age, I'd love for an NFL player to come back and do a free camp so this is just my way of giving them some skills and techniques and some life skills as well."
For Ottawa Hills senior-to-be Scharai Horton, he grew up going to the camps but now he's one of the players helping to coach the youth.
"I came to a couple of his camps and it's amazing, the kids out here are having fun, it makes me reminisce sometimes," Horton smiled.
Harris continues to give back in many different ways for the Ottawa Hills youth.
"Coming from a school like Ottawa, I wouldn't say poor but low on money, he helps the football team a lot, he just bought us new uniforms," Horton said.
The campers were definitely inspired by Harris' story.
"Some kids can go to Ottawa Hills and not go to the NBA and NFL but some kids can because he pursued his dreams," said 10-year-old Jaisen Clanangan.
Fellow 10-year-old JMarayon Tyler says he just wants to improve.
"I wanted to get better because at practice I'm not the best but I'm pretty good so I wanted to get better."
After the camps, Harris gives the campers time to ask him questions about his career or life in general.
"Who's the fastest player I played against, who's the toughest quarterback, how's Tom Brady, what it's like playing for and against Bill Belichick," he laughed, "campers have wild imagines, if you can name it I've been asked it."