MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Hundreds of kids take the field with former Green Bay Packers player Gilbert Brown for his 9th Annual Pro-Football Camp.
“It was outstanding because I never met a football player before,” said 11-year-old Darrius Bolden.
The three-day camp takes place at North Division High School in Milwaukee. It not only teaches the boys and girls skills on the field, but teaches them about discipline and teamwork as well.
“They learn team building, they learn leadership skills, they learn how to actually be a kid sometimes. Because they worry about a lot of things we might not think they worry about,” said Linda Hammer, Camp Director for the Milwaukee District.
“I think it’s awesome to know that he`s doing this on his own time and that he really cares about his community and our kids, I think that’s really important,” said Vincente Harriell, whose son joined the camp for the first time this year, “especially for a person that’s a role model to take the time out of his day just because, it’s very important.”
Brown said the inspiration for this camp came from a similar camp he was a part of when he was younger.
“It taught us the game, but it also taught us about growing up in the inner city and having something that you know you would never get unless you had to pay for it,” said Brown.
So he's bringing some of those same concepts here to Milwaukee, starting with the fact that it doesn't cost the kids or their parents anything.
“It’s totally free for them. And we feed them breakfast lunch and dinner and it’s a great thing we’ve been doing for so many years,” said Brown. Those meals and snacks are provided with the help of Feeding America.
“Every year we hear about shootings and a lot of things going on bad in the neighborhood, so we try to bring something good into the neighborhood in order to promote some sort of positive atmosphere,” said Linda Hammer, Camp Director for the Milwaukee District.
And it seems to working, because the kids are walking off the field not only with some new football skills, but life lessons they can carry with them.
“In football you have to have leadership and you also have to have that in life,” said Bolden.
“I always tell them it`s better to get outside then stay inside and play PlayStation or Xbox all day -- thinking they’re honing their skills with their thumbs, when they need to be honing their skills with their legs,” said Brown.
The camp runs until Thursday, July 10th on the North Division High School football field. It's open and free to everyone ages 8 to 17. From 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. the children 8 to 12 years old will be on the field. 2:00-5:00 p.m. is for those 13 to 17 years old.