News: Marine Corps kids attend Chargers football camp
Story by Lance Cpl. Crystal Druery
SAN DIEGO - “I know we’re not walking,” said Police Officer II Edwin K. Garrette, with the San Diego Police Department, Sports Training, Academic, Recreation/ Police Athletic League volunteer, who was encouraging some of the children at the San Diego Chargers Junior Training Camp Aug. 4. “You run on the football field.”
The San Diego Chargers and San Diego Police Athletic League invited local children to participate in their free annual football skills camp as part of the NFL’s Play 60 Program.
The Play 60 Program encourages kids to spend 60 minutes a day playing to combat childhood obesity.
The San Diego Chargers Junior Training Camp is participating in the program by having the kids play football for 60 minutes while at the camp, explained Kimberley Layton, director of community relations for the San Diego Chargers.
Marine Corps Community Services jumped on board and escorted 24 Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego children to the camp.
It has been held for 10 years to allow children to have a safe and fun time while learning about a healthy lifestyle from people who can be a positive influence.
MCCS has been taking local military children to the camp four years in a row.
“San Diego is filled with military [personnel] so it’s nice to give them support by reaching out to their families,” said Layton.
This camp is only offered for nonprofit organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA.
“It encourages kids to go outside and be active for 60 minutes,” said Layton. “This is a good way to remind kids being outside and running around is fun.”
The volunteers that help make this possible for the children are law enforcement and collaborative partners assigned to STAR/PAL. The volunteer officers wore regular civilian clothes to help build relationships with the children, said Garrette.
“If we can build relationships with the kids at a young age, maybe they won’t get in trouble when they are older,” said Garrette.
The military and law enforcement go hand-in-hand he explains, so Garrette and his co-workers support the military and enjoy being able to come out to work with military children.
The children displayed ear-to-ear grins the full hour of running drills with the volunteers.
“It was fun tackling the football pads,” said Bradley Brown, 13, participant.
This is also an opportunity for the military children to bond and have someone to relate to while staying active. “We invite them out so the kids can just be kids,” added Layton.