Donations make football camp possible

(Posted June 23, 2017)

By Amanda Ensinger, Staff Writer

The second annual James Cotton Football Camp will go on, thanks to donations from local organizations.

At a special meeting on June 19, Mount Sterling village council discussed the donation and approved supplementing it with village funds to make sure the camp takes place.

“We are going to be $325 to $400 short, so we need council’s approval to spent these funds if needed,” said John Martin, village administrator. “Before, we thought we were going to be $2,900 short, so this is a lot better than what we originally thought.”

The camp, which takes places 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-4 p.m. July 1 at Veterans Field, is free to children ages 8 to 17 years old.

The costs associated with the camp are for coaching, t-shirts and water, totaling around $3,400. The biggest expense is the $2,500 fee for the coaches.

“We received a donation for $2,500 from Keihin Thermal and $500 from the American Legion Post 417,” Martin said. “This leaves us with around $400 we still need covered.”

While organizers might get other donations to cover the remaining costs, Martin wanted council to approve making up the difference, just in case.

Martin said the village has funds available in its parks and recreation account for cultural, physical fitness and life skills, eliminating any need to take money from the general fund.

“Before hearing this, my biggest concern was how taxpayers’ money was going to be spent,” said Diane Spradlin, council member. “With these generous donations and these funds in the parks and recreation department, we won’t have to worry about that now.”

All council members approved spending the funds if needed and noted the importance of the camp.

“It is more than just learning about physical fitness and football,” said Mary Lou Stiverson-Ratliff, council member. “They learn lessons about camaraderie and working as a team.”

Currently, 100 kids from all over the region are signed up to participate. Participants will learn football drills from James Cotton, a former Ohio State University football player and member of the Buckeyes’ 1998 championship team. Other former Buckeyes and NFL players also will serve as coaches at the camp.

“We are so grateful to Keihin Thermal and the American Legion for stepping up and doing their civic duty,” Martin said. “Without their generosity, this camp might not be possible.”

The camp coincides with the annual Mount Sterling Community Days Festival, set for June 30-July 1 featuring food vendors, a car show, live music, laser light shows, a parade and much more.

“We used to have several festivals take place throughout the year and now we have combined all festivals into one,” Martin said. “Because it takes place over Fourth of July weekend, you will see family reunions and people visiting who haven’t seen each other in a long time.”

For more information on the James Cotton Football Camp or the Community Days Festival, visit

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