"I hope it inspires people," the Carolina Panthers quarterback says of his show All in with Cam Newton
Credit: Courtesy Nickelodeon

From circus performing to fashion design, to handling snakes, Cam Newton is not afraid to try new things.

Ok, maybe he’s afraid of that last one. But, with help from an 8-year-old aspiring veterinarian named Soleil, Newton conquered his fear (from a distance, of course).

This was just one of many new experiences the Carolina Panthers quarterback opened himself up to on his new Nickelodeon docu-series All In With Cam Newton. On the show, Newton pairs kids aged 7-15 with unique mentors who can help them pursue their dreams.

Mentors are central to the show’s concept because, as Newton explains, they’re an essential part of his own life and success.

“I would not be the person I am today without my mentors and all the people who took the time to teach me,” Newton, 27 tells PEOPLE. “The truth is we’ve all learned something from somebody.”

Whether it’s talking health policy with Michelle Obama or getting design tips from Tim Gunn, Newton remains by each kid’s side, cheering them on and goofing around.

“It’s a boatload of fun and I got to do so many things I wouldn’t even imagine doing,” he says. “I also found out I had more fears than I thought.”

Which brings us back to the snakes. “Being around snakes is my greatest fear,” he admits. But, watching an 8-year-old 4-foot-tall girl hold a massive snake helped bring Newton a little bit closer to overcoming his fear.

“To have a kid saying, ‘Look I’m just this big and I can hold this snake and it’s not hurting me,’ we could encourage each other,” he says. “If I can do it anybody can do it and that’s pretty much what the whole show is about.”

Newton says he hopes the show will inspire other kids (and adults) to work to be the best at the things they love.

“I hope it inspires people,” he says. “I know when I watch the show I get goose bumps knowing there are people out there working to be the best at what they do.”

Newton worked almost every day of his off-season filming the show – a strenuous schedule he says he couldn t have kept up if not for the inspiring kids he got to work with.

“Being around the kids was the best part about it,” he says. “I don t think I could have done this show with adults. For me, the energy that a child brings when they’re excited about learning their craft, that makes all the difference.”

While Newton’s sole focus was helping the kids to learn new skills, the new dad says he took a few mental notes as well – from the parents.

“Seeing the way these parents pushed their kids to become whatever they wanted to be taught me something I will definitely apply to my own parenting,” he says.

All in with Cam Newton premieres Friday, June 3 at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.