Football star Wentz returns to Fargo for inaugural football camp

Carson Wentz and Sanford POWER teamed up to host the inaugural Carson Wentz Youth Football Camp on June 26. That morning, 250 kids showed up to the historic Dacotah Field to learn the basics of football from Wentz, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and former quarterback for the North Dakota State University Bison.

Learning from a North Dakota legend

Brody Hanson and his family were the first to arrive for Wednesday’s camp, and he was clearly excited about the day’s event.

“He’s played catch since he started walking,” Brody’s dad, Jared Hanson, said. “But his first year of football was last year with actual pads and everything.”

Although Brody Hanson is relatively new to the sport, he says he really enjoys it.

“My favorite part of football is throwing and catching, but I also like tackling. I’m really excited to see Carson Wentz,” he said.

Jared Hanson shared his son’s excitement about Wentz. “I’m excited just to see Carson. We were very fortunate to get signed up,” he said.

Additionally, he hopes his son takes away a few key messages.

“I hope he takes away an excitement for the sport. He should learn to keep going back to practice and remember through the tough days that Carson went through this stuff too and to keep driving for it and working hard,” he said.

Inspiring camp-goers

Wentz is Ben Sayler’s favorite football player, so having him as a coach was a special experience for Ben.  “I’m a big Carson Wentz fan. I watch him on NFL games, and he is my favorite player,” Ben said.

His dad, John Sayler, hopes his son took away the ability to dream big from Wentz and his story.

“Someone from North Dakota made it all the way to the NFL because, just like he said, he was little like you guys. You can do it if you try hard,” he said.

Ben Sayler said it was great getting to meet Wentz and have him as a coach when working on drills, especially because he is new to football.  When asked what his favorite part about the camp was, he exclaimed, “All of it! I liked all of it!”

Dreaming big

Wentz is more than just an inspiring story. He is a hometown hero and a friendly face that people from North Dakota are familiar with.

As a former North Dakotan and Bison, not only is he easy to relate to, but he has a profound effect on the kids from North Dakota. The kids also have a profound impact on him.

“It’s always humbling seeing the kids wearing my jersey, both the NDSU and the Eagles jerseys. It’s super humbling to see. I was that kid in the bleachers, and now they’re all wearing my jersey,” Wentz said.

To get to where he is now, Wentz had to block out the nay-sayers. He hopes he can inspire kids to do the same.

“I would just always tell myself to keep dreaming big. That’s probably been one of my biggest messages. Being from North Dakota, people want to write you off. People just always want to write you off and tell you what you can do. I always just want to say I believe in myself and in what I can do,” he said.

Additionally, he hopes to tell anyone chasing their dreams not to let other people’s opinions alter your dreams.

“For me, it’s always just to tell them to dream big and not let circumstances or anything else in life hold them back,” he said.