Chad Greenway never took part in a football camp when he was growing up.
The Mount Vernon native did much of his work on his own.
But now that he has made a name for himself as a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, Greenway is determined to not let that happen to any other kids in southeast South Dakota.
"I never really took part in any football camps growing up, ever," said Greenway, who is currently hosting the fourth-annual Chad Greenway Dual Sports Camp, which began Thursday and concludes today at Mitchell High School. "That's really why I wanted to bring a football camp back here. Just to be able to get kids the opportunity to have a place to go and learn fundamental stuff."
Greenway and a spirited group of family and friends are part of a staff that focuses on giving athletes the skills necessary to be successful at the high school level and beyond. The camp includes football and basketball sessions for grades four through nine. Greenway was an all-state player in both sports while starring for Mount Vernon prior to his college football career at the University of Iowa.
"Not having that when I was growing up, obviously, gave me motivation to come back and give kids the opportunity," said Greenway, who autographed memorabilia for campers after Thursday's sessions. "We threw basketball in as well, because that's another love of mine that I don't get to do as much anymore. It's just fun to come back and give something back to the kids."
Greenway hasn't been back to the area for an extended period of time since last year's camp. His wife, Jen, is currently pregnant with the couples' second child -- their daughter Maddyn will turn 3 in August -- and he said the short offseason, as a result of the Vikings' deep playoff run, made it difficult to come home.
But he was able to make room in his busy schedule for his annual camp.
This year's staff includes Vikings' center John Sullivan, Mount Vernon head boys' basketball coach Eric Denning and Mitchell High School juniors Jason and Justin Greenway, who are first cousins of the former first-round pick of the Vikings.
"We really have so many kids now that we have to rely on the number of the helpers coming in," Chad Greenway said. "It's become sort of a tradition now, and we have a lot of fun with it."
Chad Greenway said the focus of his camp is to stimulate kids' minds and keep them interested in the information his staff relays to them.
"We know we only have them for a certain amount of time, and we understand how kids work," Chad Greenway said. "Their mindset will allow them to be engrained in one aspect of one drill at a time. You really want to make the drills as quick as possible so they can learn something new constantly; that's how I was when I was a kid, and I think that's how a lot of these kids are, too."
While he is home, Chad Greenway will also be taking part in Heroes Weekend in Mount Vernon this weekend.
A Mount Vernon group is conducting events throughout the weekend to help raise money for a new grandstand and track project near the high school.
"This whole week is a lot of fun for us," Chad Greenway said. "It starts with the camp and having the kids have fun running around and meeting new friends, then the Heroes Weekend, which will be a lot of fun for my small home town."