Youth football camp with NFL athlete draws hundreds from around region

NFL player standing with kids at football practice field

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Around 250 students in grades 5-12 from around the region attended a football camp at Northern State University on July 9 featuring NFL tight end Dallas Goedert.

The camp, held at the NSU Athletic and Recreation Fields, was sponsored by Sanford Power, drawing kids from as far away as Minneapolis and Bismarck, N.D.

Goedert said he’d like to make the camp an annual event. The Britton native, who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, said he almost attended Northern and the campus has changed a lot.

“It looks beautiful here,” he said. “They’re doing an incredible job.”

Northern’s new Athletic and Recreation Fields, which opened in fall 2018, are used by NSU Athletics, School for the Blind and Visually Impaired students, and also Northern’s intramural programs. NSU President Dr. Tim Downs said the university is happy to have community and regional events held at the fields as well.

“We see this as another way to foster community partnerships, and we thank Sanford POWER for bringing this event to our campus,” Downs said.

Brooke (Eisenbeisz) Heilman brought her son, Isaiah, and his friend, Gage Kaiser, both 10, to the football camp. A 2007 Northern graduate, Heilman said it’s special to have her son participate in a camp on her former campus. The NSU campus has changed a lot since she was a student, she said, and it's great that Northern has all of these new facilities such as the Athletic and Recreation Fields.

Heilman said the two boys enjoyed the NSU Wolves Football Youth Camp there in May, so they were excited to hear about this camp featuring an NFL player.

Bowdle is small, she said, and it’s great to have this kind of opportunity nearby.

“It’s an hour – that’s nothing,” Heilman said. “They were so excited about it.”