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‘Everyone is Special’ at Snoop Special Stars Fourth Annual Football and Cheer Camp
By E. Mesiyah McGinnis, Sentinel Staff Writer
Published September 2, 2021

Snoop Dogg (middle) works on passing drills with his Snoop Special Stars football campers. (Photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel

The fourth annual Snoop Special Stars Football and Cheer Camp was held on the Southwest College football field on Saturday, August 14th.  The camp is comprised of volunteers training the special needs participants in football and cheering drills created individuals ages five and up.  “It was such a wonderful feeling being back in person and seeing all of our returning and new participants at our fourth annual football and cheer camp. It’s such an honor for us to be able to provide the kind of events for our special needs community that are normally overlooked because of their disabilities, said Nykauni Tademy, team mom for Snoop Dogg’s Pop Warner team and the co-founder /director of Snoop Special Stars.

Snoop Dogg, Nykauni Tademy, and Hip Hop Harry welcome Snoop Special Stars to football and cheer camp. (photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

“Our motto is ‘everybody plays’ and our goal is to erase the negative stigma and stereotypes associated with the special needs community. We will continue to provide a service and bring much needed awareness as much as possible.”

Snoop Special Stars cheer campers and their coaches. (Photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel).

Tademy brought the idea to Snoop five years ago to start a special needs division in the Snoop League; that idea has led the organization where it is today.  Tademy says Snoop was in full support of the program from day one. Not really knowing what to expect, she says they all stepped out on faith. The camps have been a resounding success, and after missing the 2020 season due to the pandemic, she was happy to bring the camp back. “It’s such a wonderful feeling being back in person and seeing all of our returning and new participants,” she said.

Snoop Special Stars campers return after being away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Campers were given backs stuffed fun gifts from various sponsors and volunteer donations. (photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

“Seeing the world through a different lens is what keeps me striving towards my dreams and little man’s energy is lit x1000,” said volunteer, Shannon Estrin. (photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

Tyrone Rodgers, a former Banning High School, University of Washington and Seattle Seahawks football player, helps run the organization.  He says Snoop Special Stars is not just about kids and young adults playing football and cheer, “It’s an organization that allows all those who participate an outlet to be expressive, creative, exercise, feel the sun on their faces, to smile and to laugh while having fun,” he said.

Tyrone Rodgers (r), whose son is diagnosed with autistism, finds enjoyment in helping to organize the special needs football camp. (photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis

Rodgers says Snoop Special Stars is very dear to him because his own son has been diagnosed as autistic. “I feel the world of autistic families is misunderstood and put aside by society. Snoop Special Stars is putting our communities and our kids and young adults up in the front, giving them a chance to be able to express and celebrate themselves, as well as the chance for their families to celebrate as well,” the local Banning star said.

Tyrone Rodgers (middle) and volunteers do football drills with a camp participant. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel)

Rodgers says the main goal was to create a platform to allow their kids and young adults to participate in sports and cheer that they would otherwise not be allowed to be a part of. “The smiles on the face are the most rewarding part of my day and because of that, I know we succeeded!” said Rodgers, who always invites his former Banning High School teammates and former USC players, Leroy Holt and Marvin Pollard.

 

Former Banning High, USC, and Miami Dolphins running back, Leroy Holt, has a momentary flash back as he stiff arms a defender at the Snoop Special Stars football camp. “Hey, what can I say, I saw blue and I immediate thought UCLA,” Holt said.

Banning High and USC defensive back great, Marvin Pollard sacks a Snoop Special Star passer at camp.

Snoop Dogg says being a part of the event brings him just as much happiness as the people they serve. “Nykauni is my team mom 11 years straight! With that, you get her personality, counseling, everything.  With us, it’s not just sign ‘em up and get the money, you gotta understand, it’s a job.   We care about the kids and the parents.  And, it’s like, from the football league to this, it’s about caring. We care so much; we want to help those who don’t have.  So, that’s why we provided the football league in the first place, to provide an affordable football and cheer experience. And with [the Snoop Special Stars], it was just about kids and getting out and having fun … that was special … everybody is special,” said Snoop.  

“There’s some kids who remember me out here.  Some have been her since day one. That’s what I love.  Big double shout out to the one and only Hip Hop Harry who came through for the Snoop Special Stars.  It’s his first time coming out here and you can see the kids love him.”  

Snoop Special Stars campers and volunteers pose with Hip Hop Harry. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel)

“I would like to personally thank all of our wonderful staff, volunteers, all our sponsors, participants and parents for always being dedicated and commitment to our program. A big Thank you to our CEO and Co-founder Coach Snoop for your time and commitment to the SSS program. Without all of you none of this would be possible,” said Tademy.

The fourth annual Snoop Special Stars Football and Cheer Camp at Southwest College (photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel)

To follow Snoop Special Stars visit them at IG- Syfl_snoopspecialstars FB- SYFL SpecialStars  Website- Snoopstars.com

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This story has been updated to include copy and images.

 

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Categories: Local | News (Entertainment) | News (Family)
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