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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
To follow Snoop Special Stars visit them at IG- Syfl_snoopspecialstars FB- SYFL SpecialStars Website- Snoopstars.com
This story has been updated to include copy and images.