POUGHKEEPSIE – A local organization that offers a free football camp for Poughkeepsie children received a substantial donation from the Dutchess County District Attorney’s office last week. The money is earmarked to help to keep the camp free for children.
Poughkeepsie resident and former Marist football player Roy Watterson established the summer football camp a few years ago to give city kids a program designed to teach more than just football. “This camp brings the community together and provides the children with a safe environment where they also learn about leadership and respect for each other,” Watterson said.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Weishaupt learned of the program and reached out to Watterson to offer support. “When Mr. Weishaupt called me to his office, I thought I was in trouble,” Watterson joked. After the meeting, Weishaupt secured $5,000 for the program operated by the Roy Community Foundation. The money is the result of funds seized by the DA’s office after drug convictions and other cases.
“This is one of the highlights of my job,” Weishaupt said while presenting the money to Watterson on the Poughkeepsie High School (PHS) football field late last week. Weishaupt is campaigning to be the next DA for Dutchess, when his boss, DA William Grady officially retires. “I am determined to integrate the DA’s office with the community,” Weishaupt said, adding “I am looking forward to building a mutually beneficial relationship with the community and this is a great place to start. I want the kids to see that the DA’s office and law enforcement are here for the community.”
The camp is being held at the PHS football field beginning on July 11 and runs through August 5. The camp is free for all city children between the ages of 5 and 17. It runs five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to noon with children receiving breakfast and lunch from the Poughkeepsie City School District. Gatorade, water, and snacks are provided by the camp.
Children between 5 and 8 will learn the basics of football and play flag football games. Campers ages 9 and older will be able to improve their skills in a variety of positions, all of which are taught by coaches, former football standouts, and current Marist College players.
Several organizations have supported the program, including the City of Poughkeepsie Police Athletic League (PAL) which is providing shorts and t-shirts to all of the registered kids. In thanking all of the supporters, Watterson said “We do this for the community because these kids are our future.”
Children can be pre-registered for the camp by contacting Coach Watterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 845-546-8475. There will also be registration forms available at the camp on July 11.