NFL holds football camp
By Greg Seubert
Get outside and get active.
That, in a nutshell, is the message the Green Bay Packers brought to the Waupaca Learning Center’s third- and fourth-graders.
About 300 students participated in a Youth Football Outreach Camp in front of the school Sept. 21.
Ryan Fencl, the Packers’ youth football coordinator, and his staff set up five different stations that allowed the kids to throw, catch, carry and kick a football as well as run through obstacle courses and dive onto padded mats.
Several students showed up for school wearing Packers jerseys, T-shirts and sweatshirts.
“There’s a lot of green in school today,” physical education teacher Mary Feldt said. “The kids get a chance to run, jump, tackle, kick. It’s a special event the phy ed department likes to put on for the kids. I think this is probably our fifth or sixth time. We do it every other year and this year, it’s for our third- and fourth-graders.”
The camp is part of NFL Play 60, a program that encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.
“The NFL Play 60 program is all about getting kids outside, getting them active and playing at least 60 minutes a day,” Fencl said. “We’re giving these kids some help with that: getting them outside, running around, having fun with their friends and being active.”
Fencl takes the camp throughout Wisconsin.
“Whenever an elementary school reaches out to me, we put on the program for second- through fifth-graders,” he said. “We’ll go anywhere in Wisconsin.”
The camp enables the Packers to reach thousands of kids.
“We do our camps on Tuesdays and Thursdays and by the end of the year, it ends up being around 40 to 50 camps,” Fencl said. “We’re reaching thousands of kids, which is what we want. We want to get out, give back to the community and get these kids active and having fun.
“These camps are for boys and girls,” he added. “We want girls to be interested in football and physical activity just as much as we want boys to. These camps have a little something for everybody.”
The camp is even more exciting now that football season is underway, according to Fencl.
“Whenever the Packers are actually playing and everyone has that football fever and are watching games on Sundays, that brings the level of excitement up for these camps each time we go out,” he said.
The bottom line is getting kids into the habit of being active.
“With all the technology kids have today – their phones, video games, watching TV shows – it’s important that we break them away from that technology,” Fencl said. “We want to get them outside having fun the old-fashioned way: playing with their friends rather than texting their friends.”