Football Camp Also Hosts Mentorship Program May 31
Coach Dwight Preston had his fourth annual mentorship conference on May 31 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m at Center’s Best Western Plus before Coach Preston’s football camp June 1.
“The mentorship program was started four years ago when my friend Mr. John Brooks, came down from New Jersey and suggested a mentorship program, the next year we decided to try it out,” Preston said. “Brooks already had a mentoring program called MBK, My Brother’s Keeper. The Friday before the football camp, I invite ten or fifteen young people who would truly benefit from it. We invite speakers, have breakfast and lunch, have a good time and be a positive influence to look upward and outward: to realize that if you put the work in, good things happen.”
Speakers included Brooks, Fire Chief Keith Byndom, and former Harlem Globetrotter Trazel “Quick” Silvers.
“There are so many people in Shelby County who have so much to offer and it so important for young people to realize, ‘If they can do it, so can I,’” Preston said. “I understand having success and not having it,” Preston said. “When I played football here, we didn’t win a lot of football games, but when I went to college, we won a lot. At Kansas Wesleyan, we actually won a conference championship. There is nothing quite like that, and I want to give that experience to younger people. To tell people about it.”
Brooks could not attend the 2019 conference but talked to students over Skype.
“My technical genius did all the wiring- we couldn’t have done it without her,” Preston said. “It started out with just Stephanie and I but has grown to include our two daughters, who are our camp coordinator and technical person. I sincerely hope the program continues to evolve. My wife, Stephanie, and I started the football camp in 1991. I wanted to give young people in our area an opportunity to go to a football camp. When I was growing up, there was only one football camp around, and that was RC Slogan Football Camp at Texas A&M. The finances, going down there, interfering with work during the summer would have put too much strain on my mom. I wanted to bring something here so that young people have the opportunity to attend. All they have to do is get up and come out there and work hard and be able to use this experience over the next two months to improve.”
According to Preston, a good player has to be coachable.
“Coach Kendall was a good- not a great athlete coming out of high school,” Preston said. “But, he left Southern Arkansas University and went on to play in the NFL, NFL Canadian League, and NFL Europe. He wasn’t highly recognized in any team but he was successful. He followed what I call the Three A’s. People usually put athletic ability at the top, but that’s not true. Attitude, Academics, then Ability. Having a good attitude and working hard at school shows coaches that you are willing to learn and be taught. That is what coaches want.”