When young athletes attend Football For YOU clinics in New England this spring and summer, former New England Patriots players will teach them more than the fundamentals of football. The players will make a personal connection with the 11-14 year old participants by sharing personal stories, including challenges faced growing up, and the impact those experiences had on their lives and careers.
This added element to the Football for YOU program emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and character. It's the result of a partnership between the New England Patriots Alumni Club (Patriots Alumni) and Even Field, a nonprofit dedicated to improving integrity and ethical behavior in sports and life. Even Field's founder is award-winning interviewer Chuck Wilson, the long-time ESPN Radio host. Under the agreement, Wilson will interview Patriots Alumni at the clinics about their careers and discuss character lessons the players learned that will relate to the 11-14 age group. Wilson also will converse with adults about their role in helping young athletes get the most out of playing team sports.
"We share Even Field's commitment to promoting positive core values, and look forward to Chuck's interaction with players, parents, and young athletes at our football clinics." said Patriots Alumni President and former Patriots center Pete Brock. "As former players, we've all learned valuable life lessons while growing up. We hope that by sharing our stories, young athletes will be inspired, and strive to be their best on and off the field."
Even Field believes this approach makes an impact.
"Storytelling is powerful. It makes a lasting impression, especially when conveyed in a relatable way by athletes whom kids admire." said Chuck Wilson. "Pete Brock and Patriots Alumni are committed to helping kids and giving back to the community. It's a privilege to join them in encouraging young adolescents to think about the role of character in their lives. We hope to inspire young athletes to value their integrity and see that "how" they win, compete, reach goals, and do everything else in life - matters"
Football For YOU was created by Patriots Alumni in partnership with the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and the NFL's Youth Football Fund to bring the fundamentals of football to children in and around New England. Football for YOU is the Patriots Alumni's major community outreach. The objective is to introduce the game of football and all of its benefits to the youth of New England using Patriots Alumni as role models along with local coaches who represent the face of football in all participating communities. These one-day, no-contact clinics are open to all children ages 11 to 14. Participation is free of charge. Each child receives a T-shirt and colored Football For YOU wristband. The day concludes with a guest speaker and family picnic. Pre-registration is appreciated at www.patriotsalumni.com, but same-day registrations are welcome. The clinics are part of the NFL's Play 60 initiative, which promotes healthy living among young fans.
Football For YOU clinics will be held in 15 locations in New England this May through July. Each clinic features former New England Patriots players coaching in conjunction with local high school staffs. Patriots Alumni teach participants the fundamentals of offensive and defensive techniques and skills. An emphasis is put on leadership, teamwork, and commitment. The clinics also give parents/guardians the option of attending 15-minute interactive educational sessions covering concussion awareness, nutrition, training of young athletes and ways of helping kids get the most out of team sports participation.