Nearly 300 young people and 200 to 300 coaches will participate this year in the seventh annual Pro Football Mini Camp organized by Fort Wayne native and veteran NFL punter Jason Baker.
The camp for 6th, 7th and 8th-grade boys will be held Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 at Wayne High School. This character building camp will feature instruction by some of the region’s top high school coaches, and conclude with a non-contact NFL Flag tournament. The young football players will also participate in a servant leadership experience celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On May 1, the day before the camp begins for young people, Tony Porter, a nationally recognized advisor to the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, will speak at a coaches clinic about healthy manhood and how that relates to the current sports culture. Four coaches from the Purdue University football staff will lead breakout sessions.
“We see the camp as an opportunity for young people to develop their football skills, but also a chance to embrace values that will lead to success off the field – values such as teamwork, dedication, perseverance, integrity and leadership through service,” said Baker, a Wayne High School and University of Iowa graduate who played for 11 years in the NFL. “For area coaches, the clinic is an opportunity to learn techniques, practice-planning and motivational skills from college coaches, and learn how to be a positive impact in a young person’s life.”
Since the mini-camp’s start in 2009, more than 1,500 young people have participated and shared Baker’s vision for building a community of young leaders. Since 2004, Baker and his Catie B Charities Foundation have organized football-related character development activities in the Fort Wayne area.
About Jason Baker…
While growing up in Waynedale, Jason attended Maplewood Elementary, Memorial Park Middle and Wayne High School. He worked at Hill’s Meat Market for several years, also caddied at Orchard Ridge Country Club. In addition he played on an Elmhurst Little League team and coached Wildcat Baseball.
Jason began playing football at Wayne High School under Coach Mark Newlin and Assistant Coach Dave Mohr. When asked who helped him acquire his skills as a kicker Jason says that it was his punting coach Dave Mohr, who he still keeps in contact with. Coach Mohr’s advice to Jason was to get exposure and learn from his peers. Jason was a second-team All-Conference selection as a senior at Wayne. While handling kicking duties (39.0 yards per punt) and playing wide receiver, was the team captain in 1997.
An all-around athlete, Baker also performed well at baseball during high school and college.
In college, at Iowa University while earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration and entrepreneurship, he was the nation’s top punter during all four years. He set school records and ranked second in Big Ten history for punts and punting yards. Baker concluded his college career with 4 career punts of more than 69 yards.
Onto Pro Football, as fourth year pro, Jason was an integral part of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2003 and played substantial time with the San Francisco 49ers from his rookie year of 2001 through most of the 2002 season. He appeared in two games for the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of 2002. Pro Football Weekly named him to its All-Rookie Team after he placed 21 of his 69 punts inside the 20-yard line. In 2004, Baker was on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster. He also played for the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
When asked what he missed most about Waynedale, Jason said, “Bandidos!”
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