Over one hundred boys and girls in Lincoln, Nebraska, had a one-of-a-kind learning experience on October 21 when they attended a youth football camp sponsored by Garth Brooks and Teammates for Kids. The young athletes gathered at Speedway Village sports complex for an opportunity to run drills and play scrimmages, all under the watchful eye of a coaching staff led by former NFL players Chris Bober and Chris Kelsay.
Bober, former offensive lineman for the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs, is also a former player for the University of Nebraska Omaha. He has been a Teammate since 2003. Kelsay, a former defensive end for the Buffalo Bills, is a former Husker and has been a Teammate since 2005.
Brooks, who was in Lincoln for five concerts at the Pinnacle Bank Arena over the weekend, visited the camp to run relays with the kids and to talk to them about life lessons they'll learn from playing sports. “They’re teaching you words like courage, discipline and respect,” he said, referring to the coaches. “I’m going to throw one more on you and this is the big one. It’s love. It’s not about your girlfriend or your boyfriend, it’s about loving one another, loving your teammates. You see those coaches back there? They’re going to tell you things you remember for the rest of your life.”
“You’re a role model to kids," Kelsay said. "To get them outside, get them active and enjoying, like Garth said, their teammates and their friends and loving one another and making this world a better place, it’s going to start with them.”
The young athletes participated in the camp at no charge. They are elementary and middle school students representing Boys & Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County, CEDARS Lincoln, Lincoln Lighthouse, KVC Behavioral Healthcare, United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County, Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, Teammates Mentoring Program of Lincoln, Willard Community Center, Malone Community Center, The Salvation Army, Lincoln Parks & Recreation, YMCA Lincoln, and Lincoln Police Youth Football.
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 Lincoln, Good Teammate Awards were presented to: Carson Kildow, age 10; Xavier Schwartz, age 10; and Brian Palmer, age 13.
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.