Many of the star college football and NFL players you watch on Saturdays and Sundays in the fall found their love of the game through local youth programs. One Sacramento youth football team is in danger of folding for the second year in a row.
The North Highlands Junior Scots is just one of the 48 teams in Sacramento Youth Football where children up to the age of 14 can participate. Every SYF team feeds into a local high school with the Junior Scots feeding directly into Highlands High School. If the Junior Scots program goes away, that could keep kids interested in participating in high school sports off the field and put the football program at Highlands High School in jeopardy.
First-year president and commissioner of the team, Courtney Brown, lost his wife to breast cancer in 2015. She was just 35 years old. He and his two sons, ages 8 and 14, are hoping to heal together through football. After experiencing such a tremendous loss in his personal life, Brown is looking for a win by keeping this program alive and making a positive impact in the North Highlands community.
Youth sports can be transformative for many families trying to keep kids active, out of trouble, and motivated to pursue their goals. For families in this community, football can be a life-changing factor for young men trying to stay on the straight and narrow path and provide for their families. Brown's ultimate goal is to see these young players go on to earn scholarships and receive top-notch college educations.
Brown knows how important it is to start athletic programs at a young age. He earned an athletic scholarship to San Jose State and went on to attend Sacramento State. His brother, Ron "Speedball" Brown, won a gold medal and set a world record in the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles as a member of the United States men's 4x100 meter relay team. He was also a second round NFL Draft pick who played for the Raiders in the Rams in Los Angeles from 1984 to 1991.
In 2016, the Junior Scots youth football program had to cancel its season because it could not afford to provide adequate equipment or staffing. With many of the families in the North Highlands community struggling financially, Brown has been paying out of pocket to keep the program afloat.
He organizes and hosts free youth football camps that he says cost upwards of $300 to put together. The final Junior Scots youth camp of the summer will be held on July 29 at Highlands High School.
If you would like to help save the Junior Scots program you can donate or become a sponsor online at JrScots.org. To make a monetary donation to the team just click the orange button on the homepage that says "donate" and if you're interested in coaching football, cheer or track and field, just scroll down on the web page to find the link that says "click here to apply."
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