Camp AJ is a week long, free soccer camp that is held in honor of REACH participant Alhaji “AJ” Hassann. Board member and REACH creator Russ Sullivan adopted AJ to rescue him from devastating situations in his home and community. AJ completed the REACH’s job training program and served as a mentor to underprivileged young people. AJ was very passionate about soccer. He attended T.C Williams High School in Alexandria, VA, where he played on the Varsity soccer team and continued his soccer career as he attended West Virginia University.
It was at WVU in 2012 that AJ passed as a result of an unfortunate violent incident.
In his memory, REACH inaugurated the Camp AJ Soccer Camp in July of 2013 in Alexandria, Va. The camp was an instant success and continues to provide soccer training and competitions each day all summer for nearly 100 campers young campers from the DMV.
Camp AJ provides campers with:
- free soccer lessons conducted by experienced high school and college players, and other volunteers
- character development sessions where campers learn values emphasized within the REACH program. Topics include respect, energy, attitude, humility, sportsmanship amongst others
- soccer enrichment courses that teach students soccer’s rules & history, and soccer game-planning.
- health and nutrition sessions to promote strength and endurance
Since it’s inception in 2013, Camp AJ has expanded to two others locations. Camp AJ – Arkansas was established in Russ Sullivan’s hometown of Little Rock, AK in 2014 where it has grown from 60 participants in 2014 to more than 110 participants daily.
Camp AJ’s most recent expansion took place in Madison, VA where a REACH Program graduate identified a high interest among the residents of his hometown. In its first year at Madison, camp attendance averaged 100 per day
The Camp AJ Program is on track to continue its expansion. New locations are currently identified and evaluated.