Mike Gottfried, ESPN college football analyst and former NCAA football coach, and founder of Team Focus, a program which provides fatherless young men with leadership skills, guidance and an ongoing relationship with a mentor will offer it services through its summer camps and other events throughout the year. The program will reach out to fatherless boys, ages 9 to 17, at eight camps this summer.
The Team Focus camps consist of speakers, classes, sports and small groups. Boys attend classes on manners and have the chance to learn teamwork while playing basketball, volleyball and softball. “I knew what I wanted to do with the program,” says Gottfried, “to teach them to be better students, to teach them how to tie a tie and how to fish – everything that a father would teach them.”
“Team Focus offers a father’s attention and affection to these boys. Those were the things I missed,” Gottfried says. Growing up without a father, Gottfried understands the need for a male figure to affirm young men who have no father figure in their home. “My father died when I was 11 and I constantly looked for somebody to fill that father role,” he says. “I thought maybe someday I or a group could be, a substitute father for a young man.”
Beyond camps in the summer, Team Focus holds events for the young men in January and September. In addition, the boys are connected with mentors and guidance counselors that follow their grades. There are even scholarship programs available through Team Focus. “We can’t replace a dad but we can give a boy 25 hours a day. We’ll be a phone call away and we’ll help meet his needs,” says Gottfried.
The 2005 Team Focus camps will be held in Detroit (June 27 – July 1), Los Angeles (TBA), Dallas (June 12 – 16), Washington, D.C. (June 19 – 23), Mobile, Ala. (June 5 – 9), Maryville, Tenn. (June 26 – 30), and Ashland, Ohio (July 10 – 14). A national camp is scheduled for July 23 – 27. More information on Team Focus and Mike Gottfried can be found at www.MikeGottfried.net