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Football season energizes community

Posted: August 25, 2011 11:00 a.m.
Updated: August 26, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Football is coming back to Camden tonight

From meeting up with old friends to tailgating with new ones, football Friday nights in our hometown are truly something special. And, they are back!

Though many of us come from vastly different backgrounds, the bond we can create by cheering on the Bulldogs promotes unity in our community and fosters relationships that span age, economic and political differences. Games are a great opportunity for members of the Camden community to get together and share something in common -- a passion for local sports.

Much of the magic that happens at Zemp Stadium takes place outside of the boundaries of the field. If you look around during the games, you’ll see neighbors sharing a conversation, children playing in the common areas and new members of our community being introduced to longtime residents. You’ll see visiting fans getting restaurant recommendations for the post-game meal, and you’ll see football heroes from years past sharing memories made on similar Friday nights.

Bringing a visiting friend to one football Friday at Zemp Stadium is a great way to introduce them to what makes Camden special.

The games also serve as a great way to introduce young children to sports. Youth sports have always been important in our community; increased emphasis has been placed on promoting healthy physical activity among young people. Two local groups, Let’s Move and Eat Smart-Move More, are filled with volunteers dedicating their time to ending the problem of childhood obesity in Kershaw County. They both emphasize the need for proper nutrition and exercise.

These programs have provided bike racks at important areas around town to promote alternative means of transportation. One of my goals as mayor is to transform Camden into a more walkable place to work, play and live. A great way for kids to exercise is simply riding a bike or walking to school, or to walk with their parents to the library or the farmers’ market on the weekends.

There is no better way to get children interested in sports than taking them to Zemp and letting them be a part of our special fall tradition. You will often see a boy dressed as a Camden High football player or a girl in a gold and black cheerleading outfit. These early interests go a long way in promoting an active lifestyle through a child’s developmental years and through high school.

Football Fridays present wonderful opportunities for Camden. Before and after the games, people from across the state travel to downtown Camden which gives us a chance to introduce them to our people, our traditions and our history. 

While we gather to watch and celebrate what happens on the field, don’t forget about the importance of what happens in the stands and around town. The game is important, and the chance to gather as a community and to strengthen our bonds is what really makes football Fridays at Zemp something special.

Football is coming back to Camden tonight, and we can’t wait to see you there.

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