Making his annual football camp a valuable experience remains a big priority for Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
Kelly’s annual camp will be held July 9-13 at Sweet Home High School in Amherst, and the Buffalo Bills’ legend remains fully involved in planning for the event, even though he is battling cancer at Erie County Medical Center.
“Even in our weekly meetings, Jim has me coming down to the hospital and wants to know how many kids are signed up, do we have our coaches signed up, do we have the food service set up, do we have the medical staff in place,” said Kelly’s brother Dan. “He’s involved behind the scenes as much as all of us are in organizing.”
This will be the 27th year Kelly has run his camp in Western New York, and it’s the first time it’s at Sweet Home.
“There’s so much construction going on at Ralph Wilson Stadium, it was just impossible for us to have it there,” Dan Kelly said.
“But actually Sweet Home has more space for us. We looked at probably a dozen different high schools and colleges. Sweet Home was a great fit for us. It’s a great location, has a lot of football fields and a good indoor facility.”
Jim Kelly was not able to attend his golf tournament this week, but he’s aiming to make it to his football camp, his brother said.
“The football camp, just like the golf tournament, is a really important thing for Jim,” Dan Kelly said. “He expects fully to be there participating. If I was a gambling man, I’d say you’ll see Jim throwing footballs to kids, signing autographs, delivering a message to them about how important it is to stay in school and do the right thing.”
Bills rookie receiver Sammy Watkins is scheduled to appear at the camp.
“I look forward to it,” Watkins said. “Coming here and seeing him is a pleasure. He has given me wisdom, talking to me about the Bills organization, and what to look forward to and how there’s a lot of great people here who are going to welcome me and want to help me succeed.”
The non-contact camp focuses on fundamentals for each football position. It is divided into three age groups – bantam (8 to 11), junior (12 to 14) and senior (15 to 18). About 300 youths are signed up for the event, but there are openings for more participants.
To sign up go to jimkelly.com or call 204-0900.