The initial concept was to provide an inexpensive way for less-fortunate people to have an avenue to reach their potential. Since those humble beginnings, the All-Poly Camp - which will next be held from June 19 to June 21 - has blossomed into much, much more.
"We have an academic component this year that all of the kids have to attend before they can even step foot onto the field," Te'o said. "They're going to be required to go through four workshops in the morning, which involve the ACT prep, NCAA Clearinghouse, the ACT reading component that we're going to give them, and we're also going to give them life skills. They have to go through all four sessions before they can receive a pass to get onto the field for the first session."
Te'o and his staff know they must make an impression as early as possible. They've focused their efforts in trying to reach the younger generation of kids for the purpose of setting an early tone on the importance of education.
"We have a literacy program that we've instituted last year," said Te'o. "We have qualified preschool teachers and staffing that will available for preschool and elementary kids. We'll have reading activities and skill building activities to help these kids develop reading skills that they'll be able to take with them free of cost."
To help continue - and even expand the work that has been started - Te'o and his staff are looking for help.
"We're looking for sponsors to help provide reading materials and backpacks for the kids that they can take home with them," said Te'o. "When the NFL players come through, we'll send them over to the tent so they can read to the kids.
"If we get the chance, we'll also have some of the coaches read to the kids as well. We'll have Coach Whittingham or Coach Mendenhall - if we can - read to the kids, reemphasizing the importance of literacy. The push that we made last year was to emphasize parents reading to their kids at least 20 minutes a day.
"The donations will help facilitate that [and] will help promote getting an education, staying in school and getting good grades," Te'o said. "We're trying to also help educate the players, their families and the community that if you don't get it done in the classroom first, you won't see the football field. Football is the reward for getting it done in the classroom, and not the other way around."
How Donations Benefit The Camp
"This camp is very beneficial for a couple of reasons," Te'o said. "The All-Poly Camp provides a venue for even the instate schools to see all these top kids that will be coming from out of state and from Samoa perform. I'm saving these universities a lot of money, including BYU and Utah.
"Number two, they don't have to travel thousands and thousands of miles all over the country to see individual kids work out, play in a game and run through drills. Instead of having them go to California one week, Samoa one week, Arizona one week [and] Oregon one week, they can come here and see some of the best kids perform here.
"Again, we're providing an equal opportunity for college coaches to come here and see some of the best athletes perform in a neutral setting. When they're recruiting they have to go to the high school, talk to their coaches [and] their parents, but when they come here it's all about football. They're able to see the kids firsthand to see if they're legit or not, or even see other kids that maybe they'll want to start recruiting.
"To me, this camp is a win-win situation for all involved. For the players, they get to be coached by some great Division I coaches and gain a greater understanding of what it takes to get to that level. It gives the kids a chance to showcase their talents for coaches that might not know who they are otherwise. They're going to either get greater exposure or get exposed.
"For the coaches, they have the opportunity to coach these kids, see how they perform [and] who they are as people, and gauge their attitude and interact with them in a neutral setting. The camp helps to paint a broader picture for the coaches of who these kids are that they may be recruiting. It's a big advantage for those that participate all the way around. The bottom line is, what puts food on their dinner table is the fact they can recruit good football players to their programs. At the All-Poly Camp, we get down to the nitty-gritty."
Donations to the All-Poly Camp have also benefited people outside the camp.
"We've done a lot of things that people are not aware of," explained Te'o. "We've been able to gather equipment from various colleges and have been able to send them out to American Samoa on a yearly basis. If I were to give you a dollar figure, it would be around $60,000-worth of equipment to the kids back there.
"We know there will be kids that will go to Division I colleges that attend our camp, but what we also have is a network of around 30 or 40 schools, from DI to DII to the junior college ranks, and try to provide those second- or third-tier athletes a scholarship to further their education. The donations are going to help us with shipping cost; set up a more affective referral system; help pay for equipment, mailings, DVD's; and to help alleviate some of the finances for the camp itself that we've been supporting on our own. Three of the last five years, we've been operating in the red because it's come out of my pocket."
Those who wish to help support the All-Poly Camp can receive benefits such as:
- Leather autographed football by any coach or NFL player in attendance.
- All-access field pass to watch players perform under the tutelage of coaches and NFL players.
- Reserved seats at the annual All-Poly Sports Luau.
- Photographs taken with your choice of college coaches or NFL players in attendance.
- Company banners prominently displayed at camp location.
- Company advertisement on each All-Poly Sports Camp DVD.
- Complimentary BBQ lunch on closing day of camp.
- Name and company logo printed on official camp T-shirt.
- Awarded gold sponsor plaque during award ceremony.
"From a donor standpoint, not only are they going to see some of the top football players, but they're also going to see some great coaching going on," said Te'o. "It's going to be a fantastic exhibition of high school football and college coaching going on at the camp. There will be projected future NFL kids being worked out by various college coaches along with current NFL players. We're going to give donors full access to the camp, and they can be involved with any drill they want."
"Right now we have Colorado's [linebackers] coach, Coach Brian Cabral, coming out, and he told me that head coach Dan Hawkins wants to come out and make an appearance at the All-Poly Camp. We're expecting Coach Todd Bradford, who was at Oklahoma State and in now [defensive coordinator] with Southern Miss. He's going to take a look at the schedule and see if it doesn't conflict to try and make it out.
"I've spoken with Coach Uperesa [offensive line coach for UNLV] and he's in contact with Norm Chow [UCLA offensive coordinator]. We're going to try and get Norm Chow this year. We'll have Coach Stan Eggan [defensive line] from Texas A&M out here this year.
"We'll have Boise State head coach Chris Peterson and Coach Viliami Tuivai [linebackers] out here this year to participate. Joe Seumalo [defensive line] from Oregon State and head coach [Mike] Riley wants to come down and make a visit to the camp now. We get Mike Sanford from UNLV who comes out every year, and Ron McBride is there every year.
"Kyle Whittingham will be out there. Kalani [Sitaki], Coach Anderson, Coach Alford were all out there last year, along with Andy Ludwig. We're expecting them to be out there again.
"Coach Mendenhall has expressed that he would like to come out if it works according to his schedule. Last year we had Robert Anae, Steve Kaufusi and Mark Atuaia, and they will be out there again. Coach Doman was out last year. Those guys are yearly guys and will be out there participating with the camp. BYU is good and they never let me down when it comes to helping out at the camp and coaching the kids."
A number of BYU's football players (some of which just signed with BYU), including Eathyn Manumaleuna, Gary Nagy, Garrett Nicholson, Jake Murphy, Shiloah Te'o have participated in past All-Poly Camps. One Ute, meanwhile, that has been to an All-Poly Camp is Mike Honeycutt, who committed to Utah last year.
"Mike Honeycutt came out to our camp and Utah really recognized his skills out at our camp," Te'o said. "From there they invited him to come out to Utah's camp, and so he goes up there and tears it up. They track him throughout the year and offer him a full-ride scholarship."
For the Cougar coaching staff, it was much the same for one player currently on their roster.
"Gary Nagy is a kid who comes up here and had a really good showing," said Te'o. "We had Steve Kaufusi at the camp, Coach Anae and Mark Atuaia. Those three guys go back to Bronco and say, ‘Hey man, we gotta take a look at this guy and track him throughout the year because he displayed some good skills at the camp.' In terms of BYU, or any college that participates, it's just another free opportunity for them to get up close and personal with these guys that could be future Cougars: kids like Shiloah [Te'o], Garrett Nicholson, Gary Nagy and even my other nephew Manti Te'o."
Although there are many Polynesians that will attend, the camp isn't exclusive to Polynesians athletes. In the past, many football prospects from various ethnic backgrounds have attended and benefited from what the camp has to offer. This year, the camp will receive infusion of top talent from within state of Georgia to compete with athletes from Hawaii, California, Arizona, Samoa, Texas, Utah and Nevada, among other states.
"I met a high school coach at the American Football Coaches Association in Anaheim, California who coaches 5-A ball down there in Georgia," said Te'o. "He's convinced me that he's going to bring around 15-to-20 of the best players from the area he's from in Georgia. His team lost in the state championship but he's going to bring up these top players from that area to attend this year. Apparently, they have some top dogs out there that they want to showcase out here at the All-Poly Camp."
Anyone who wishes to donate to the camp will be able to meet some top Division I coaches, get an up close and personal view of coaches instructing players, see top prospects perform on the field, golf with coaches, be a part of the award ceremony, and much more.
The All-Poly Camp is 501C3, so those who wish to be a part of the camp through donations can use it as a tax write-off. To learn more about the All-Poly Camp and the various levels of donor benefits, go to http://www.gothighlights.com/AllPolyCamp2.html.