As football fans across the country had their eyes riveted on the NFL Draft, Garth Brooks and Teammates For Kids hosted a football camp for kids interested in playing the game. While he was in Champaign for four concerts at the State Farm Center last weekend, Brooks took some time away from the arena to welcome one hundred boys and girls to a football camp at the Irwin Indoor Football Facility on the campus of the University of Illinois.
The young athletes, representing Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County,
Stephens Family YMCA, Project Athletes, and the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club, attended the camp for free. Members of the University of Illinois football team, including offensive line coach Luke Butkus, quarterback Chayce Crouch, and wide receiver Mikey Dudek, were coaches. Brooks visited the camp to cheer on the kids and talk to them about the importance of teamwork.
"Just listening to him, you know he's doing it for all the right reasons," Butkus remarked about Brooks' support of the youth camps. "That's what we do. You have to give back to people."
"This camp has one purpose: for these kids to leave with one more friend than they came here with," Brooks explained. "It's about relationships. It's about loving one another."
Teammates For Kids presents the Good Teammate Award at each youth sports camp they sponsor. The award recognizes the young athletes who best demonstrate the traits of a Total Teammate, including leadership, toughness, unselfishness, and respect for the game and all of its participants. In Champaign, Good Teammate Awards were presented to: Jakiah Brown, age 9; Karlos Winston, age 10; Hannah Cole, age 13; and Dylan Overmeyer, age 13.
Teammates will continue to partner with Brooks to hold youth sports camps at every city on his World Tour. Brooks and athletes in each city will volunteer their time to coach kids in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer.