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KC teams, fans all part of one squad tonight

Posted: August 15, 2013 9:45 a.m.
Updated: August 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Everything old is new again.
Those words, that phrase, never rang as hollow as they did in the collective ears of players and coaches with Kershaw County’s three public high school football teams last year.
Both Camden and Lugoff-Elgin were out of playoff contention by the time October rolled around. For North Central, a first round AA state playoff loss to visiting archrival Andrew Jackson left a bad taste in the mouths of the Knights.
Surely, there are better days ahead for the three local entries. And the road to redemption, in part, begins tonight with the playing of the 38th annual Camden Shrine Club Football Jamboree at Zemp Stadium.
Like a cleansing rain, the jamboree opens the door to a fresh start to the football season.
Tonight’s three mini-games will be long forgotten as quickly as a week from tonight when both Camden and North Central kick off their seasons or, two weeks from now, when Lugoff-Elgin opens its campaign.
On a night in which whatever the scoreboard reads does not matter, what will amount to a game and a half of football matters more than most any contest which the six competing schools will play this fall.
Beginning with the real season, money taken at the gate, at the concession stands and through the sale of game programs will go to fund everything from the host school’s athletic department to the marching bands to a school-sponsored club(s).  Tonight, those funds will go toward a greater cause: The Camden Shrine Club.
Each year, members of the Camden Shrine Club invite the coaching staffs from the six participating schools, their administration, tonight’s officials and other guests who will donate their time for the jamboree for an evening of fun and fellowship at the Camden Shrine Club’s headquarters on Lake Shamokin. Throughout the course of the night, jokes and stories are told following a dinner cooked by the members.
For all the laughs and good-natured ribbing which takes place that night, things get serious when it comes to players’ safety at the jamboree. Nobody wants to see a young person injured or, overcome by the elements. And, all on the field are urged to be vigilant for any signs of a potential problem.
Looking out for the best interests of young men and women is part of what makes the Shriners who they are. The organization has nearly 200 chapters worldwide with thousands of clubs located throughout the globe. For many outside the organization, Shriners are associated with the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a health system of 22 facilities dedicated to pediatric medical care, specializing in the treatment of burned and/or crippled children along with world-class research by medical professionals.
The football jamboree is the largest fundraiser which the Camden Shrine Club puts on in order to help raise money for its many charitable endeavors. Plenty of hours of labor are put into making this late-summer staple on the county sports calendar a success.
You will see Shriners  making their way throughout the stadium tonight. Donning maroon Fezes, they will do everything from taking up tickets to selling programs. They will be joined by the Camden Shrine Club Ladies Auxiliary, many of those women working in the heat of the concession stands for the enjoyment and refreshment of the fans.
For one night, fans of the Bulldogs, Demons, Knights --- of both the North Central and Crestwood variety --- Yellow Jackets and Volunteers will come together for one cause. For, at least, one time, rivalries will take a back seat to the big picture which is helping the Camden Shrine Club help those who may not be able to help themselves by lending a hand.
When you look up at the scoreboard following each game this evening, try not to put much stock into what those numbers --- which will be clicked off the board as quickly as they will be put on it --- mean. The Camden Shrine Club football Jamboree is much more than just a trio of mini-games.
It is about neighboring communities coming together and rallying around a group of men and women who look out for those who have been dealt a tough blow in life and are always there to be of assistance.

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