What is 4th and 1?

4th and 1 is a free football camp for underserved student-athletes from Texas high schools that balances football training with intensive ACT classes, and workshops on college admissions, business skills, and life-skills.  For six days, student-athletes live on the Northeast Texas Community College campus and get a taste of college life. During camp, student-athletes take two diagnostic ACT exams. They attend daily, intensive test prep classes where a 5:1 student-teacher ratio ensures that student-athletes receive personalized instruction. Student-athletes are exposed to college admissions information, business skills training, life skills courses, and motivational speakers.

Who We Serve

4th and 1 serves high school student-athletes from at-risk groups by helping them build a solid foundation for success.  Our student-athletes may be, for example, first-generation college hopefuls, members of ethnic or racial minority groups, from economically-disadvantaged households, or from single-parent homes. Each summer, 35 student-athletes are selected through a competitive application process to attend 4th and 1. All accepted student-athletes attend camp on full-scholarship.

What Is Camp Like?

Camp begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. each day.  For six days, coaches and teachers live and eat with the students in on-campus dorms to encourage the development of longstanding mentor-mentee relationships.  Coaches and teachers are paired with mentees, with whom they meet at the end of each day, to ensure that every student-athlete receives personalized attention. All staff, teachers, and coaches are volunteers, so every dollar donated is applied to running the camp and providing room, board, and materials to student-athletes.

Our Unique Curriculum

The 4th and 1 curriculum aims to help student-athletes develop leadership skills and prepare for college while having fun, making new friends, and building mentor-mentee relationships with teachers and coaches. As such, our curriculum is unique and diverse.  Here’s a sampling of what 4th and 1 student-athletes can expect:

ACT Training

  • Two ACT practice exams administered under real test conditions
  • Intensive, daily ACT course taught in a small-group setting


  • Daily football training

Spiritual Training

  • Daily yoga and meditation practice
  • Motivational speakers from the local community, the NFL, and Division I schools

Life Skills

  • Step-by-step training in how to choose and apply for college
  • Hands on course about scholarships and the FAFSA
  • A workshop in succeeding in college as a first-generation college student
  • Q&A with 4th and 1 student-athlete alumni who are currently in college
  • An interactive college essay writing workshop
  • Simulated job interview sessions with personalized feedback
  • Courses on networking, cover letters, and business emails
  • Interactive business and dinner etiquette course
  • An interactive budget management class
  • A practical sewing class


ACT Gains

Student-athletes take diagnostic ACT exams on the first and last day of camp.  After six days of intensive ACT training, student-athletes in Texas showed an average improvement of three points on the ACT (on a 1-36 scale).

Our Volunteers
4th and 1 student-athletes are paired with volunteers and coaches who serve as mentors and tutors throughout the school year. Business leaders, sports professionals, and university and college staff from across the country volunteer at 4th and 1 to provide our students with a broad curriculum.  Volunteers include football coaches, directors, statisticians, and former players from the NFL and Division I schools. In addition, business leaders in the fields of law, consulting, education, and science contribute to 4th and 1’s diverse curriculum.

Most importantly, as former campers become college graduates and leaders in their fields, they have returned as volunteers to serve as mentors to the next generation of student-athletes.