BY YOLANDA COWART, Springtime Club Founder
CLEARWATER — This Sun., July 19, Leonard Johnson will be joined by over 100 youth for his annual I Am 29 Football and I Cheer 29 Cheerleading Camps in Clearwater to work on their football and cheerleading skills.
Johnson is a local all-American sports star that was born and raised in the area and currently holds the position of cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played college football at Iowa State University and was signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
Since that time he Johnson has been an integral part of the Buccaneers defensive and very visible in the community, as he makes himself readily accessible to support local community projects and causes.
“I would not be where I am today without the support of my community.” “My parents, my family, my Church family, and several other community based organizations all contributed to my success and played a role in shaping my future”, said Johnson.
Johnson started the I Am 29 Football Camp to create a day of fun and exciting skilled football and cheerleading drills for boys and girls. The program caters to children of various age groups at the local little league and high school levels. The boys will learn strengthen tackling, offense and defense skills, while the girls will learn new cheer drills, stunts and dance routines.
Johnson worked in collaboration with local youth coaches and tapped into his NFL network to provide an all-star experience for participants in an encouraging, youth-friendly environment. He will be joined by his Iowa State University teammate Jeremiah George, a linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders who are assisting with the cheerleading camp to help aspiring girls hone their dance moves on the field.
Johnson will also use the venue to address a very serious issue plaguing our youth and our community—senseless violence and murder. On the sideline of the football field Johnson will establish a “Stop the Violence Lane” that includes a Hurst donated by Carnegie and Dallas Funeral Services and memorials for local fallen officers, the community’s murder victims, the Clearwater’s unsolved murders, and the Springtime Club’s cold case victims.
Johnson’s mother, Schenique Dallas Harris, who works in the criminal justice field, said that Leonard wanted to express to youth the dangers and destructiveness of violence. She said that the purpose of displays in Stop the Violence Lane is to convey to our youth that “we are all one community and that the violence has to stop.”
All law enforcement officers, each cheerleader, every football player, no matter which team they play on or what neighborhood they grew up in, are all an important part of our community.
“Violence among young people is one of the most visible forms of violence in this neighborhood, in our community,” said Johnson. “I wanted my camp to inspire our youth to admire the power of sportsmanship and to teach them the importance of values, fairness, morals, respect, and a sense of fellowship not only with their competitors, but in our community,” he added.
This Sun., July 19, Leonard Johnson, Jeremiah George and the Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders will take the Buccaneers Field at 902 Martin Luther King Drive, in Clearwater. Registration starts at 1p.m. and activities are scheduled from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m.