“I want to help our youth in some kind of way,” said Allen, a former St. Paul Highland Park football star during the mid-1990s. “It was important to me to give something back.”
Well, Allen is already doing that and plans to do even more.
While football camps and basketball camps are becoming a regular presence across the metro area, Allen, along with former high-school teammate THETIS WHITE, facilitated an agility camp for youth ages 7-17 recently at Jimmy Lee Recreation Center in St. Paul.
The SAQ camp gave participants a chance to focus on speed, agility and quickness, but Allen specifically pointed out the camp is about much more.
“It is about developing characteristics that they [participants] can use throughout their life,” the 1997 Highland Park graduate stressed. “It is about developing teamwork, hard work and leadership.”
Allen came up with the idea of the camp through an organization he developed known as the JKMovement (JKM).
“I wanted it to keep going, said Allen, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in 2002. “The camp worked out well.”
The SAQ camp culminated with a cookout in which participants received certificates and gave parents an opportunity to appreciate Allen’s efforts.
“It was a great experience for my children,” stated KASIM ABDUR RAZZAQ, a former St. Paul Central basketball standout whose son and daughter were among the participants. “My son enjoyed it because of the activities. My daughter liked it because the coaches motivated her and instilled confidence.”
“That’s what it’s all about,” Allen said with a smile.
Participants included: RAYYAN AND ISA ABDURRAZZAQ, ALLAN W. LANKFARD JR., D’SEAN ANDERSON, THERON CARTER, TYLIEANN CARTER, DALLAS LEWIS, JULIA NEVILLE, GAVIN REESE, ANYIAH RIES, RASHAD SHABAZZ JR., DONTE’ THOMAS, MICHAEL YOUNG, DEWELL ROBINSON, ISAIAH LEE ALLEN, TAYE CARTER, MIA CURTIS, BONITA FRANCO, BRANDON HUDACHEK, AVERY NEW, AIDAN TEGELER, ISAIAH FLORES, BLASIUS M. PRIDGEN, JORDAN ANDERSON and LATRELL CHRISTOPHER.
JAKEISE JACO, who starred at Highland Park as a lineman this past season, served as one of the camp counselors.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to [email protected].