Elmer Bankus Field has been busy, of late.

Earlier this month, NFL Flag Football scrimmages were held for youngsters. This week, older kids participated for the second year of the Bruin Brother Camp.

For four days, the “Home of the Brookings-Harbor Bruins” was been abuzz with kids in the third through eighth grades hoping eventually to play prep football. 

Head football coach Shaun Bravaro leads the camp, along with the coaches and members of his current varsity high school football team. They’re playing it forward by mentoring the young players for the day when they, too, can proudly wear the Blue and Gold.

Bruin Brother Camp teaches participants, by example, the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and passing, while going over some of the rules governing Oregon high school football play.

Running nightly 6:30-7:30 p.m., the camp began this past Monday and concluded Thursday.

“This is a good, hands-on experience for these kids, with my (varsity team) showing them the ropes in order to promote football,” Bravaro said. “Everyone I have talked to says the kids are having a blast.

“We go over skills, fundamentals, really the whole of football.”

No pads or helmets are used during the practices. And although high school-level tackling is discussed, only two-hand-touch tackling is in effect.

In addition to the core offensive and defensive skills, Bravaro said, “We teach these kids special-teams play, because important players like a good kicker or punter are sometimes hard to find. Or finding that individual who has the talent to run back a kickoff, for example.”

During the Bruin Brother Camp, the head coach said rotating positions for each player is important. The youngsters will be trying out for any number of positions as they advance. “One never knows where their own particular talents may lay until they try it all,” he said.

At the same time, there’s “no pressure, just a fun way to see what might be a good fit for them.”

Last year was the first for the camp, with 32 kids turning out.

“We (the varsity team) are excited to put (the camp) on,” he said. “My assistant coaches are helping me, but it is really great to see my team helping.

“That’s where we got the name, Bruin Brother Camp. Big brothers helping little brothers ... or sisters. Just kids helping kids.”

The Bruins’ varsity football team starts practicing for the regular season on Aug. 19.


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