James Woodman, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, is hosting his fourth Kick for the Sick soccer camp for kids on Saturday, Aug. 13. The unique event has kids learning soccer skills from teenage leaders while raising money for a worthy cause. This year, all proceeds from Kick for the Sick will go toward Rady Children’s Hospital’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Kick for the Sick will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ocean Air Community Park in Carmel Valley. Woodman hopes to get at least 50 kids to participate in his “grand finale” event before he heads off to college next year.
“The kids get to play soccer but are also very aware that in doing so they are contributing to those who need it most,” James said. “By participating in this camp I hope I can inspire the younger generation to begin to give back.”
James had the idea to hold his first Kick for the Sick event when he was in the eighth grade in 2012. A few years earlier, in 2008, he had lost a close family friend, Max Mikulak, to cancer. Max was only 7 years old and his death deeply affected James — he wanted to do something to help.
It took some convincing with his parents but the-then 14-year-old was determined — the first successful camp had over 30 kids in attendance and raised $700 for Max’s Ring of Fire(www.maxsringoffire.org), “a pediatric cancer fundraising and advocacy organization that supports innovative neuroblastoma research and clinical trials.”
“Surprising Max’s Ring of Fire with the money, and seeing the look on their faces made me realize how small acts go a long way,” James said. “What makes Kick for the Sick so different from other youth camps is that not only does it provide high-quality instruction, but it shows and encourages younger children that no matter how minimal, every action is meaningful.”
A soccer player since he was 6, James plays competitively for Rancho Santa Fe Attack and is a member of the Torrey Pines High School variety soccer team. He was the type of kid who was always organizing lemonade stands and and aims for a career as a CEO someday; the honors student would like to study economics or business in college.
Kick for the Sick represented the “perfect mix” of all of his passions: giving back, soccer, business and planning. A hard-working planner, James plans everything by himself — his only help came before he was licensed to drive and his mom had to drive him to Costco to pick up snacks for the campers.
To date, his camps have raised $2,020 for charities. James held his second and third camps in 2014, supporting Brother Benno’s, an organization that serves the poor and homeless in Oceanside and Akshaya-Patra, an Indian organization that fights malnutrition and hunger for which James is a youth ambassador.
He hasn’t been able to host a camp since his freshman year due to the challenge of getting park permits and field time. This year, the Del Mar/Carmel Valley Sharks generously gave up some field time at Ocean Air Community Park for him to be able to run Kick for the Sick again.
The Aug. 13 camp will include stations to work on passing and shooting, skills drills and games such as Sharks and Minnows with the teen leaders. After lunch, there will be a round-robin-style tournament and each participant will go home with a certificate and a five-minute memory video of their day provided by ClipCast Sports.
Sponsor booths and representatives from Rady will be at the event and there will be a raffle for prizes.
While James has said this camp will be his grand finale before he graduates, he won’t rule out squeezing in another Kick for the Sick in the spring should the field space be available.
The age range for the camp is 5-12, although James welcomes boys and girls of all ages. Registration is a recommended donation of $20 for Rady Children’s. To sign up or make a donation, visit kickforthesick.org. Ocean Air Community Park is located at 4770 Fairport Way, San Diego, 92130.