Young athletes in Lafayette, Louisiana, had a unique, incredible experience on July 1 when they were invited to attend a youth football camp hosted by Garth Brooks and Teammates for Kids.
Donnie Jones, punter for the Philadelphia Eagles and a Baton Rouge native, along with his coaching staff, ran the athletes through drills and scrimmages to develop their gridiron skills.
The camp participants, 65 boys and girls ages 9-13, attended the camp at Teurlings Catholic High School at no charge, thanks to the generosity of Teammates for Kids. The young people represented the Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana Lafayette, Louisiana Outreach Services, Lafayette Public Schools, Lafayette Parish Sheriff Program Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Faith House, Inc., Boys Village Foundation, Acadiana Youth Inc. and Tickets for Kids Charities.
Garth Brooks, in Lafayette for the last of his 5 shows at the CAJUNDOME, visited the camp and tossed the pigskin with the kids. He also shared words of encouragement and talked about sportsmanship. “My thing is if they can leave here knowing one more friend than [before] they came, this camp is a success because life is about relationships,” he said. “Life is about loving one another and working together, and that's what this camp is about.”
Donnie Jones has played in the NFL for 13 seasons, with Seattle, Miami, St. Louis, Houston, and currently Philadelphia. A Baton Rouge native, he played for LSU and contributed to their National Championship season in 2003. He has been a proud Teammate since 2005. About coaching the camp, he said, “To help these kids out, be a mentor and ultimately give back, that's what it's all about.”
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 Lafayette, Good Teammate Awards were presented to: Camden Maroon, age 13; Ke’Shane Hamilton, age 14; and Saphira Sterling, age 9.
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.