NFL kicker joins family in hosting Camp Crosby
A bus from the Boys and Girls Club dropped off fifty kids at Southwestern University for Camp Crosby on a sunny Saturday morning in July 2013. They joined a stream of other children, all eager to get a picture with the host of the sports event, Mason Crosby, NFL kicker for the Green Bay Packers.
After posing with 150 children, Mason’s smile “was pretty much frozen” in place, he recalls. “Last year  was our inaugural year for Camp Crosby. We didn’t really start small.”
The camp is hosted by the Crosby family, Georgetown residents for twenty-five years, to raise community support and awareness for The Locker, a service-learning foundation that assists at-risk kids.
“It’s on my heart to help kids,” Mason says. “I do that a lot in Green Bay and am involved with a lot of different things there. When I come back home, here in Georgetown, I feel like there shouldn’t be a kid who doesn’t have the things they need if we can help facilitate providing it for them. I feel that heavy on my heart all the time.”
The entire Crosby family helps run the camp, including Mason’s parents, Jim and Karen, and siblings, Ashley and Rees, and their spouses.
The Crosbys see their involvement in the free camp and the promotion of The Locker as an important way for their family to share a common mission to give back to the community together.
“I feel blessed and fortunate to play football and to have the opportunity do this,” Mason says. “I know in my heart that If I wasn’t playing football, I would be trying to do the same thing. It’s just a really good opportunity and a chance to be a part of the community I grew up in—that’s special.”
The Locker’s Inception and Impact
Karen Crosby helped to start what is today called The Locker in 2008, when Georgetown High School athletes asked her how they could learn to serve the community. Karen taught service-learning to Georgetown Alternative Program students. The GAP students had begun to learn about a growing problem that few people in Georgetown were aware of: homeless students.
In 2007, 223 Georgetown teens fit the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act’s definition of “homeless,” according to the Georgetown Project 2007 Snapshot of Georgetown Children and Youth. “Homeless” is defined as “being without a consistent place to sleep at night.”
The GHS athletes chose to join the GAP students in tackling this problem. At The Locker’s inception, GHS students stocked a few shelves in Georgetown schools with various hygiene items that homeless classmates could anonymously claim as needed.
Over the subsequent eight years, The Locker has moved beyond meeting only simple hygiene needs. Any economically disadvantaged student can request financial help, on a case-by-case basis, for necessary school supplies and personal items as well as for other items they cannot afford, such as work uniforms, athletic gear, beds, and travel expenses for out-of-town competitions.
“We’re trying, in a sense, to help give high school kids dignity and normalcy,” Mason says. “That can sometimes be the hardest thing to give.”
Camp Crosby: Weekend of Community Fun
Camp Crosby is a three-day event consisting of opening festivities, a kicking camp, and a multi-sports camp. The camp kicks off on Thursday night with a tailgate party for adults, to be held at the Community Center this year. Last year, a local TV station hosted its sports broadcast from the event, which included raffle and auction items, including Super Bowl memorabilia donated by Mason.
On Friday morning, Mason runs a kicking camp at GISD stadium for middle school and high school boys from all over the state. The entry fee is a $100 donation to The Locker. This year, Green Bay punter Tim Masthay and long snapper Brett Goode will join Mason at the camp to help kids build skills and work on conditioning.
“Those kids who come to kick, we talk to them about The Locker and ask them what they’re doing in their schools,” Karen says.
The weekend culminates in a free fitness camp for first- through fifth-grade kids on Saturday morning. Kids rotate through stations run by athletes from Southwestern and Georgetown and East View high schools to learn about various sports, including lacrosse, soccer, basketball, and, of course, football.
“Southwestern has been so gracious to open their doors and give us their fields and facilities to use,” Mason says. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
All kids who participate in the fitness camp will receive a Green Bay Packers wrist band, a t-shirt with The Locker’s logo, and a framed photo of themselves with Mason, courtesy of a grant from the NFL, which also covers a portion of the cost to help keep the camp free.
“There are so many people who give unselfishly just to help for this event,” Mason says. “It feels like a community deal. It’s called Camp Crosby, but it feels like Camp Georgetown.”
Camp Crosby: July 10-12 2014
Tailgate Party Fundraiser
Help “Stock the Locker”
Georgetown Community Center
Thursday, July 10, 2014
6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
$50 per person
Mason Crosby Kicking Camp
Kicking . . . Punting . . . Long Snapping
Personal Instruction by Green Bay Packers Specialists
Mason Crosby—Tim Matshay—Brett Goode
Southwestern University Football Fields
Friday, July 11, 2014
8:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
$100 donation to THE LOCKER
Conducted by GHS, EVHS and Southwestern Coaches and Athletes
Meet Mason Crosby and other Packers Teammates
Saturday, July 12, 2014
8:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
Must be registered to attend all events.
For more information and to register online go to www.thelocker.info.