Athletes For Life Partner With Crimson Collective For Second Year Of Ute Reservation Football Camp

Jun 6, 2024, 4:03 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Athletes for Life and its founder, former Utah football punter Hank Mondaca, will be back in the state later this month to put on year two of his football camp geared toward the children living on the Uintah-Ouray Ute Reservation.

Year one was a smashing success with Mondaca and his army of former Utah athletes giving the Ute children the opportunity to build confidence, learn football skills, and meet some really cool people along the way.

Year two aims to be even better with Mondaca getting approved for a 501c3 for Athletes for Life. Mondaca has also worked to align his charity with the Crimson Collective, meaning, not only will the Utes be treated to the presence of former Utah football legends, but Utah football legends in the making as well.

It’s an exciting development for both parties that will play out on June 26 and 27 at Union High School in Roosevelt.


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Athletes For Life, Crimson Collective Partner To Do Things The ‘Utah Way’

A year after their launch, the Crimson Collective has celebrated a lot of milestones and impressive feats with the most important of them all having to do with getting Utah’s student-athletes out in the Salt Lake community and finding the joy in giving back to the people who support them.

A lot of great moments have been had between Utah athletes and organizations such as Sammy’s Buddy or the Huntsman Cancer Institute among others.

What makes the Crimson Collective’s latest partnership with Mondaca’s Athletes for Life organization particularly special, however, is that it’s run by a former player, and it’s geared toward the people Utah’s athletes represent during every competition weekend.


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“We’re excited,” said Drew Watson who is the Director of Development for the Crimson Collective. “We’re still figuring out the logistics in helping with this football camp coming up. We’re talking about busing up the entire football team and the players are super pumped about it.”

Watson also talked about how rewarding it’s been seeing Utah’s student-athletes spark joy in the kids they have already worked with in conjunction with other organizations but thinks Athletes for Life has the potential to be particularly special due to bringing the Utes together with the Ute Tribe.

“It’s really cool to see the student-athletes interact with the kids,” Watson said. “Especially with the Ute Tribe- that is who we represent. The university is proud, and the collective is very proud. It’s been cool to see the student-athletes step up to the plate and be a part of it all.”

Utah Football Will Have An Opportunity To Get To Know The People They Represent On A More Personal Level

Utah’s student-athletes have always gotten a talk from a representative of the Ute Tribe before competition season starts to give them a taste of what it means to be “Ute Proud”. However, going to where the Utes live and being able to interact with them on a more personal level is an opportunity Mondaca thinks will give more meaning and pride in wearing the “Drum and Feather”.

“The story has kind of always been- Utah has a tremendous opportunity because of the fact we have a live, living mascot,” Mondaca said. “We are playing for something that is very tangible. For those athletes to be able to touch, feel, talk and interact with the Ute Tribe is something that not a lot of schools can do.”


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Not only does Mondaca hope to build a further appreciation from Utah’s student-athletes for the people they represent, but he also hopes on the flipside the Ute kids will be inspired and encouraged to pursue sports and the many lessons that can be derived from them.

“Part of our cause is to get these kids on the reservation out for athletics,” Mondaca said. “There are two schools there that boarder the reservation- one is Uintah, and the other is Union. We want to get these kids involved with the high schoolers- the football team at Union. Last year, those guys did a tremendous job taking those kids under their wings and encouraging them. We’re hoping to see a lot more of that. With these players coming in- they can be a true liaison to give the youth on the reservation some aspirations. Some hope and some dreams to follow throughout the year. It’s a small, little thing, but to them it’s huge.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on X, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Athletes For Life Partner With Crimson Collective For Second Year Of Ute Reservation Football Camp