Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jaelen Strong, of the Houston Texans, Hosts Football Camp for Hometown Philly Kids

It's been a while since adding content to my blog, so I hope to share some of the things I've learned. First of all, I have truly been blessed to be a part such exciting coaching opportunities across the country up to this point in 2016. For my first post back, I would like to point out some of my eye opening moments while coaching/training this off season...particularly off the field. I hope to add a couple more soon.
Jaelen welcoming campers 
  Eye Opening Moment #1: Fortunately, Jaelen had asked me to be the Quarterback coach for a camp he was hosting. If you are unfamiliar, Jaelen is a West Catholic and ASU alum. He is currently a WR for the Houston Texans. The 3rd annual SNPGD: Legends of Tomorrow Camp. His camp was very well run and had some major star power. The other counselors included NFL players like Deandre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, Kevin Johnson(Houston Texans), Todd Gurley(LA Rams), Damarious Randall(Green Bay), and Philly natives Will Parks(Denver Broncos), Jihad Ward(Oakland Raiders), Rasheed Bailey(Jacksonville Jaguars). Now, the fact that all of these NFL guys were present was pretty cool. But that isn't even what was most impressive. Usually, when you have camps like this(I won't name them), the NFL players show up for a photo, shake a hand or two, and snag some publicity. This was not the case AT ALL. These guys totally invested into the 100+ youth and High School players who attended the camp in split sessions. It was stifling hot, had to be close to a 100 degrees on the turf in the center of West Philly. That did not stop any of the NFL player from coaching though. Cecil Shorts grabbed a kid to the side for some 1 on 1 time to correct some flaws. Deandre Hopkins (arguably the best WR in the League) would stop his group drills in order to demonstrate personal techniques that he uses. It was awesome. They weren't shying away from the moment. They all went into detail when correcting players and even posed for photos at fans' request throughout the longevity of the event. Strong, Ward, Parks, Bailey were all awesome too. Just their mere presence was an example for the kids of Philadelphia. They are walking examples of hard work and determination...that dreams can be achieved no matter what odds were against you. Kudos to these fine gentlemen. Glad they are bright spots/representative of the potential in the young dreamers of our city. #PhillyStrong #AgainstTheOdds

  Takeways from this moment: Almost a dozen NFL players came out to support Jaelen's cause. The camp was an awesome experience for hundreds of inner-city kids, some of whom dream of making it to the NFL. They were able to rub elbows with their idols and saw first hand what it is like to give back to the community. The key here is that the kids saw their visions and dreams in real life form through the NFL players. NFL players that had come from the same community that they were from. NFL players who had a dream and put in the work in school and on the field. They were able to see that there is unlimited possibility that lies ahead of them. Above all else, the players that gave back gave hope to the kids of our community. I think it is safe to say that this camp was a success.
Jihard Ward
Deandre Hopkins and Coach Abe

Rasheed Bailey, Coach Abe, Will Parks, Jihad Ward

Coach Abe and Jaelen Strong

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