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Special Summer Camp Spent With Superstar
Derek Herzog, right, of Oakdale attended the annual Citi Bank Colin Kaepernick Football Pro Camp weekend June 21 and 22. While there, Herzog caught passes from his idol, Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers. He walked away with lifelong memories, signed memorabilia and even made a new friend in Cole Noguera of San Jose. - photo by Photo Contributed

It’s not every day that a 9-year-old can attend a football camp with his idol, but for young Derek Herzog, he got the opportunity to attend a two-day camp earlier this summer. On June 21 and 22, Herzog attended the Citi Bank Colin Kaepernick Football Pro camp at San Francisco’s St. Ignatius College Preparatory.

The camp consisted of two four-hour fun filled days. Attendees were broken down into age groups and got to experience quarterback and halfback drills with the National Football League’s San Francisco All-Pro 49er quarterback himself. The excited youngsters got to play in daily games, and participate in stations and skills contests that gave them a chance to win signed jerseys, footballs and other memorabilia. Every child was a winner at the camp as they all got to leave with a Citi Bank Colin Kaepernick Football Pro Camp T-shirt, a signed photo of Colin, a group photo with the quarterback, State Farm gift bags with Dicks Sporting Goods gift certificates, and most of all, memories that will last a lifetime for Herzog and others who attended the unforgettable weekend.

Herzog was placed on a team where he reached the championship game, but his team fell just short of winning it. In the game he managed to catch a few passes from Kaepernick. Herzog would shout out the QB’s nickname of ‘Kap’ while running his route and when Kaepernick threw him the ball, Herzog caught it, breaking out into a smile larger than life as he was running down the sideline. The passes he pulled in from Kaepernick were Herzog’s favorite thing about the entire weekend, he said, along with playing with his teammates and making the championship game. This was his second year attending the camp, having gone last year in the spring.

“It is beyond amazing. Pro Camps does such an amazing thing with those camps for young kids and getting the chance to do baseball or football camps,” praised Sara Herzog, Derek’s mother.

“They have so many other sports, they have tons of kids who attend this, it’s truly amazing. They take the time to spend time touching lives of the young kids,” Mrs. Herzog added.

She also classified Kaepernick as “an awesome person” and one who is “genuine and down to earth.” Her son has a new hero, and a new team to watch come football season.

“He has so much respect and heart for these kids. He makes them laugh and smile and he is all about them,” Mrs. Herzog said of Kaepernick. “I respect him so much and his family, he definitely is someone a lot of kids look up to. He is an amazing quarterback and he is good at what he does. I appreciate all he has done for my son and being a part of a camp like this, he can be anywhere in the world and he chose to be there with the kids for two days putting smiles on their faces and making their dreams come true of meeting him.”

Young Herzog will be playing for the Oakdale Stampede Youth Football program this fall. He has played organized football since the age of five, when he and his family lived in Ceres. Although he is only 9-years-old, his knowledge and love for the game is immeasurable. He is a Raiders fan but acknowledges Kaepernick as his favorite NFL player and his hero.

“My son will always have this to talk about and remember. I can’t thank Colin enough for being a true hometown hero to my son and we will always be by Colin’s side rooting him on, watching him do what he loves to do and what he is good at,” said Mrs. Herzog. “He is a true hero and leader.”