About the Camp

The Football Camp for the Stars is especially for athletes with Down Syndrome who love football. With instruction from NFL football players, along with NFL, college and prep school coaches, athletes learn the fundamentals that put them in the middle of the action, resulting in an authentic football experience.

How it all began…

The Football Camp for the Stars, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, is the brainchild of current Valley Christian Schools (VCS) Varsity Football Coach, Mike Machado.  The mission of the camp is to provide athletes with Down Syndrome an authentic football experience while maintaining the highest standards of safety.  The first camp was held in June of 2007.

Now in its tenth year, the Football Camp for the Stars at Valley Christian has been embraced and supported by the football community at large. The list of professional and collegiate participants is both lengthy and well known.  Camp coaches utilize drills and plays taken directly from the VCS playbook.  The two days of training end with a scrimmage.

An initial goal for the camp was to have other schools and organizations ‘catch the vision’ and learn that football doesn’t have to be ‘off limits’ to these competitive athletes.  That vision has become a reality as similar camps have been started in both Denver and Pittsburg.

Coach Machado has been honored by the National Down Syndrome Congress by receiving the President’s Award for meritorious service to individuals with Down Syndrome.  This is the second national honor for Machado, who was also the recipient of the Double Goal Coaching Award from the Positive Coaching Alliance.  On a local level, Coach Machado was selected as CCS Coach of the year in 1995 and 2002


Do you accept campers from out of state?
Yes, we have had campers from Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Illinois and New Mexico, as well as from all over the state of California

Do the campers actually play tackle football?
The camp is meant to be an authentic football experience. The coaches run the campers through various football drills which mirror drills done at various football training camps. Campers must fill out medical waivers so that coaches and the assigned buddies are aware of any medical issues the campers may have. Drills are adjusted to each camper’s abilities. On Saturday, a scrimmage game of flag football is played – this is a non-contact activity. By watching the videos on the Football Camp for The Stars website, you will be able to view a sampling of the activities.

Can parents and friends stay at the camp with the campers?
Parents, siblings, caregivers and friends are welcome to stay and watch both days of camp. For safety reasons, we ask that all spectators observe the activities from the stands. We encourage everyone to come and watch the scrimmage on Saturday at approximately 11:00am.

Is lunch provided for the campers and their families on both days of the camp?
Lunch is included in the $75 registration fee for the camper. Lunch tickets may be purchased each day for family and friends.

Are family and friends invited to the Banquet on Friday night?
Absolutely! The banquet is included in the $75 registration fee for the camper. Additional tickets may be purchased at time of registration or on the first day of camp.

What if I cannot afford the $75 registration fee for my son?
Financial Aid/scholarships are available, based upon need.

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