It may be summer but football is looming just around the corner. The NFL has already held its annual draft and its training camps are upcoming. For high school players and younger, summer is the time for camps to work on their game.

The Opelika Dawg Pound is preparing to host a coaches and quarterback/wide receiver camp on July 29 and 30 at Loachapoka High School with the help of UT Ingram and Tuskegee University offensive coordinator Aaron James. That event is not the only thing that the Dawg Pound is up to this summer.

“[UT Ingram] has a pretty impressive resume,” said Anthony Bryant, founder of the Dawg Pound. “It is only right to bring one of Opelika’s back to come back and give a camp. It is really big to have someone from your city go play at the collegiate level or higher and come back and give back for free. That’s big. I wish more coaches and athletes from the area would come back.”

The Opelika Dawg Pound is a youth football group that fields teams from ages 6 to 12. The Dawg Pound is a part of The Knee High Foundation whose mission is to serve the youth in Opelika with life skills, teach them financial literacy and proper etiquette.

“A lot of them have never been outside the city,” Bryant said. “We are helping them to be upstanding citizens.”

Along with hosting the coaches and quarterback/wide receiver camp at the end of July, the Dawg Pound is hosting a book bag drive on July 23 in coordination with the city of Opelika and Ambassadors of Change (AOC). That will take place at Covington Recreation Center This is the first time that it has partnered with the city and AOC, and Bryant said he expects them to have a big turnout for the event.

“Last year we gave away 1,000 [book bags],” Bryant said. “The year before that we gave away 1,000 and the year before that we gave away 1,000. I expect us to give away at least 500 with the city and other organizations coming in.”

The book bag drive might be the biggest thing that the Dawg Pound will do all summer, but the community service work  it does with The Knee High Foundation extends beyond that one event.

“I’m going to be honest, my organization has touched the lives of 500 to 700 boys and girls,” Bryant said. “We’ve countless stories of parents coming to us telling us how much we’ve helped their kids.”

Recently, The Dawg Pound gave $2,000 in scholarships to the class of 2022 and visited veterans’ homes in the area to bring toiletries and other supplies. It also participates in community cleanups.

On Aug. 6 and 7, the Dawg Pound will host the Showdown in O-Town Part 2 to round out the summer. After that, the Dawg Pound will start its fall season in the Columbus Youth Football League.

“We have our hands in so much stuff,” Bryant said. “We are embedded in the community.”