The face of sports has changed, thanks to Title IX, a federal civil rights law that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal money.

The Rock Island Youth Football Camp is co-ed, for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“We work on character development, athletic development and the basics of football skills,” said Ben Hammer, Rock Island head football coach.

“We’ve got six or seven girls out here,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of girls, three out for the high school team, three or four out to the junior highs.”

“Technically football itself is a co-ed sport,” Hammer said. “Anybody can play, anybody’s welcome. We’re excited about having them in our program.”

“I have three brothers who play football and I like football, cause I have wanted to play football since I was 3,” said Janelle Peniston,10.

“I’m just learning with them, doing football, helping them out, for the big time,” said Sanaa Hampton, 15.

“I like to tackle people so that’s what I like about it,” Janelle said. “But it’s also fun because you get to meet new people and you get to do new stuff that you’ve never did before.”

The camp shows girls that they’re strong, said Sanaa.

“They’re football players like anybody else,” Hammer said. “They’re out here running around, having fun, working to prove every day, working to become better people just like anybody else.”

This spring, the state of Illinois seeks to make flag football an official sport for high-school girls.