www.wqow.com Eau Claire
Tony (WQOW) -- Jim Leonhard may be a member of the New York Jets, but he'll never forget where he came from: Flambeau High School.
It's one reason he's back in his hometown of Tony for a third straight summer, leading the Jim Leonhard Football Skills Camp. Jets teammate Danny Woodhead is also on hand, along with a number of high school football coaches.
Leonhard says it's important for him to give back to the community where he grew up. Meanwhile, young players love the chance to learn the game from an NFL starter...who started small before making it big.
"Having NFL players involved in a camp, kids will listen," says Leonhard, "a lot of times they think they're pretty smart but when you bring in NFL quality players and coaches, they're going to listen, they're going to pay attention, they're going to really soak it up and take it to heart."
Woodhead says, "This is a way that NFL players, people like us, can give back to local communities and just to younger kids, just try to show them a few things that we know about football."
Flambeau H.S. senior Jake Stamper says Leonhard is an inspiration.
"No matter how big you are, you don't have to be the biggest guy out there," Stamper says, "as long as you've got skill, you've got heart, and you've just got the will to win and do good, you can make it, you can do anything."
"Just to give back to the community that really made me who I am today, it feels great," Leonhard says, "we've got kids from all over northern Wisconsin, some from southern Wisconsin. It's really great to see this camp, it's in year three and just continuing to grow and grow."
"When I was in high school, there just wasn't as many opportunities to stay in Northern Wisconsin and get a camp like this, so just trying to provide another service for the players and the coaches as well to help them for their upcoming seasons."
Gilman H.S. sophomore Dean Klimeck says, "It means a lot because it gives us hope that there is a chance with being from a small town and you don't have to be from a big city or somewhere like that to get into the NFL and stuff."
The high school portion of Leonhard's camp wraps up Friday. On Saturday, there's a one-day camp for kids in fifth through eighth grade.
Posted by Jim and Katie on 6/27/2010