Windsor’s finest athletes give back to their community

Ryan Blevins
By Ryan Blevins March 4, 2016 14:34

Windsor’s finest athletes give back to their community

Nicholas Tesolin (left) blocks a camp participant during the one-on-one portion of the 2015 Windsor's Finest Football Academy camp. (Photo by Ryan Blevins)

Nicholas Tesolin (left) blocks a camp participant during the one-on-one portion of the 2015 Windsor’s Finest Football Academy camp. (Photo by Ryan Blevins)

 

By Ryan Blevins

 

Windsor’s athletes are giving back to their community through the gift of knowledge.

For the third consecutive year, a group of professional football players will set up camp in their hometown of Windsor. The Windsor’s Finest Football Academy camps began in 2014 when Catholic Central High School graduate and current Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was looking for a way to share his success with the community where he grew up. Crawford and his cousin Daryl Townsend, a defensive back for the Montreal Alouettes, recruited their friends and former teammates to join them in creating the camp.

Three years later, Crawford and his team are preparing for what is anticipated by many to be another successful youth football camp. The list of athletes and instructors has expanded but the one thing that stays consistent is the camps emphasis on hard work.

Windsor’s Finest Football Academy Camp Coordinator Alex Guerrero said setting up this event was an easy decision for the players involved.

“I think it was just something that was natural to them,” said Guerrero. “They’ve wanted to put together something like this and now that they have the resources to do it, they wanted to make sure they could influence other Windsor natives.”

This year’s camp will feature approximately 15 instructors including Luke Willson of the Seattle Seahawks and newcomer Corey Fuller of the Detroit Lions. The two-day event will place an emphasis on not only producing quality athletes but also encouraging participants to take a stand against bullying.

The camp is broken down with a strict itinerary. Players are scheduled to go through drills with professionals at each position. After each session the staff will take time to listen to the instructors’ stories and allow the camp leaders to relay a message. The past two camps have featured a guest speaker who promotes the anti-bullying movement, although no speaker has been set for this year’s camp as of yet.

Keeping with the theme of anti-bullying and giving back to the community, the camp’s slogan will be “iron sharpens iron.” After careful consideration by the organizing committee, this creed was seen as most fitting because it promotes the values of the camp. According to Guererro, the slogan represents using one another to succeed and to help those who are down.

Townsend said it was important to him to provide this experience to the city where he grew up.

“I never really had anything like this. There was never any pro to come back to the city and say they want to teach you their skills and hang out with you. I thought it would be cool in our position to do that for the kids of today,” said Townsend.

Campers will be split into two age groups. Youths aged 13-18 will be split up by position and complete drills coached by a professional who has played that position at the next level. The 7-12 year old group will go through a much less intensive day in an effort to entertain the young children who might not yet know which position they want to play.

Holy Names High School defensive back Adem Ireyomi is a former Windsor’s Finest Football Academy camp participant and said the experience of the coaching staff is what is bringing him back this year.

“It brings the best in Windsor out together and gives us an opportunity to showcase our skills to our coaches and peers as well,” said Ireyomi. “It’s the perfect learning experience for up and coming football players who have aspirations to take their game to the next level.”

The event is fully non-profit and any money left over after the expenses are settled will be donated to a charity of the event’s choosing. Event planners are anticipating more than 300 participants will register for this camp.

The event takes place April 16 and 17 at the University of Windsor’s Alumni field.

Ryan Blevins
By Ryan Blevins March 4, 2016 14:34

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