by Senior Airman Ashley J. Thum
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/21/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- More
than 100 children swarmed onto one of the base's football fields for a
free National Football League ProCamp, July 16 and 17.
Boys and girls in grades one through eight performed passing, receiving
and defensive drills, all while learning the value of teamwork and
leadership with the help of the camp's featured athlete, Pittsburgh
Steelers defensive back, Cortez Allen.
"The kids are excited about being here, ready to work and excited about
competing," Allen said as the camp began. "That's the beauty of things
like this, when you can be active and be healthy, and still have a lot
ProCamps for football, basketball and other sports are hosted across the
U.S. and internationally to give children once-in-a-lifetime skill
training with professional athletes.
Being a football camp, it was only fitting that this camp should begin
with a "draft," where the young athletes lined up and counted off to
join teams named after those Allen has played for. After meeting their
volunteer coaches and performing some light calisthenics, it was time
for feet to start shuffling and passes to start flying.
"We went over offensive drills, defensive drills and receiving drills,"
said Quinn, one of the camp's young participants. "We worked on getting
into the right stance, and a lot of techniques you need to learn in
Allen said he has volunteered at several camps with other athletes, but
interacting with military children was a unique experience.
"They go through different things like having family overseas, not being
able to see their parents and other things like that, so it was good to
put a smile on their face," Allen said. "I couldn't even compare it to
being on the field. They see you on TV, but everybody sees that.
Actually being able to run with them and sweat with them, I think they
receive that very well."
It would seem the children agree.
"He was very cool," Quinn said. "He was very helpful, especially when it
came to stuff I needed to work on like shuffling my feet or watching
the defense. "
In addition to catching snaps and blocking tackles, the athletes were
also coached on staying healthy and maintaining a fun and active
"I take this a lot more to heart than being on the field," Allen said.
"I love what I do, but I love being with kids and giving back to
communities. I'm extremely blessed and fortunate to have been a part of
From the draft to the drills, and from two-handed tag to a celebratory
pizza party, Quinn and other children deemed the NFL ProCamp a success.
"I had a wonderful time," Quinn said. "It was probably one of the best camps I've ever been to."