STATESBORO, Ga. - On a breezy day in the month of June, 30 members of the Camp RAD program gathered on South Georgia Tormenta FC’s training field to learn all about the beautiful sport of soccer from Statesboro’s best talent. Camp RAD, a four week summer camp day program for local youth with disabilities from ages 10 to 22, seeks to help campers transition into the “real world” after they graduate high school and help them lead healthy, independent lives.
As the soccer balls flew across the field, the players of Tormenta FC used their passion for the game to help guide campers through fun skill drills and team bonding exercises. With Tormenta FC co-owner Netra Van Tassell’s background in special education, the Camp RAD program has become near and dear to the club and its players. Through physical exercise, the Tormenta FC players are able to bond with the campers and create lasting memories while teaching them skills they will be able to carry with them through the years.
“One of the goals of Camp RAD is to help adolescents with disabilities acquire the skills to lead healthy, happy, and independent lives as members of their community,” said Sarah Creveling, volunteer at Camp RAD. “One of the highlights of our summer was having our campers on the field with Tormenta FC. The players have encouraged our campers to try new things and be more active while making them feel included with the team. Tormenta players worked with our campers to learn new skills and also had a lot of fun doing it!”
The Statesboro-based program seeks to use an interdisciplinary approach that utilizes experts in the fields of pediatric occupational, physical, and speech therapy, adaptive physical activity, child and family development, public health, and nutrition to teach campers life skills, physical activity skills, and other healthy living skills while having fun. Through this interdisciplinary approach, Camp RAD hopes to see every camper who comes through the program achieve functional goals that will further their abilities to help them return to school or transition into the community with new life skills.
In addition to the work the club does with Camp RAD, Tormenta FC also hosts soccer camps in partnership with TOPSoccer, a national adaptive soccer program from U.S. Youth Soccer offered locally through South Georgia Tormenta FC’s academy for athletes with mental and physical disabilities. The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl with disabilities through an emphasis on development, training, and meaningful participation.
Through a partnership with TOPSoccer, Tormenta FC hopes to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to develop their physical fitness, technical skills, courage, and self-esteem, through the joy and excitement of playing soccer.
The first TOPSoccer clinic of the year will kick off on September 11. In addition, the participants of the TOPSoccer program will be recognized on October 1 at Tormenta FC’s home game against Union Omaha. TOPSoccer participants will be able to escort the players onto the field and will be recognized at halftime of the game.