REIDSVILLE — RHS alumni Jerome Simpson, a retired NFL veteran wide receiver, delivered a message to a talented group of young campers on Saturday – keep your dreams alive.
For the second-straight year, Simpson and more than a dozen community volunteers, hosted a free Pro Dreamz Football Camp at the Reidsville Rams training facility last Saturday.
Well over one hundred campers, ages six to rising freshmen, came out to compete and learn from some of the best coaches in the community and hone their gridiron skills.
Simpson, who was a key player on Reidsville teams that won back-to-back NCHSAA 2AA state championships in 2002 and 2003, said his pro dreams began on fields just like the one’s kids are playing on now and that is the driving force for why he comes out of pocket to host the camp each year.
The things he learned on the gridiron as a kid growing up in Reidsville helped him earn a football scholarship to Coastal Carolina and later a No. 46 pick in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
He would go on to play for nearly a decade in the NFL with several teams as a wide receiver prior to retiring in 2015.
The camp is similar in format to the annual Next Level Skills Camp which Simpson has been helping to instruct for well over a decade. It featured a variety of drills and competitions that many college and pro teams use to develop players.
Simpson plans to once again help out at next week’s Next Level Skills Camp which begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Reidsville facilities as well.
He also assisted former NFL veteran and current Winston-Salem State University offensive coordinator Natrone Means at another free camp at Lake Reidsville on Monday.
Simpson said the summer camps are designed to help kids develop their skills and expand their knowledge and develop tools to help them become better both on and off the field.
“It’s just another way to give a little something back to the community that gave so much to me,” the former Ram star said.
Simpson has given back with not only his service through teaching the principals of the game to local youth over the years, but has also donated funds to help kids stay involved with sports.
He personally financed a Reidsville Recreation Department renovation of the basketball court as well as the gymnasium several years ago.
Simpson made sure each camper received a free t-shirt and at the end of the camp, the kids were treated to grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.