Cindy Gruden, wife of Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, helped kids make the most of the Buccaneers Women's Organization's Fall Festival
Tampa Bay Buccaneer players and coaches support their community in many different ways. During the football season, most of their community work falls on Sundays and Tuesdays. On Sundays, for instance, players invite nearly 400 children to attend games through a variety of charitable ticket programs. On Tuesdays, players visit schools, hospitals and youth detention centers, among many other things.
Saturday, however, is the day for their significant others to get involved.
This past Saturday, the Buccaneers Women's Organization, a charitable group formed by the wives, fiancées and girlfriends of the Buccaneer players and coaches, held its fourth annual Fall Festival for children from local Bay Area charities.
Nearly 100 children between the ages of six and 13, visiting from the Children's Home, Hillsborough County Department of Children Services, Joshua House Redlands Christian Migrant Association, The Spring and YMCA of the Suncoast, attended the event.
This year's Festival took place at Raymond James Stadium where the kids created arts and crafts, played games and got their pictures taken with Buccaneer Cheerleaders. The festival-goers also participated in the Buccaneers Gatorade Junior Training Camp, a football mini-clinic that involves executing football and agility drills.
Adding to the festive atmosphere were stations for face painting, decorating Buccaneers treasure chests and creating individually-designed canvas bags.
While the football drills were fun, the highlight for many of the kids was using glitter glue, paint, ribbon and fake gold doubloons to decorate their treasure chests and bags.
"I had a great time," said nine year-old Daniel. "I really liked making the treasure chest, I'm going to use it as a piggie bank. The football drills were cool, too. And our candy bags are pretty cool, plus we got a Buccaneers Super Bowl poster."
The prize bag that delighted Daniel was filled with candy, stickers, a Buccaneers pennant and a team picture. Several students also won gifts for their athletic and artistic ability. The prizes, awarded in various age groups, included a Derrick Brooks-signed lunch box, a Keenan McCardell-signed pennant, a John Lynch-signed water bottle and a Martin Gramatica-signed football.
The Buccaneers Women's Organization also served a lunch of hot dogs, French fries, watermelon and cake to the students, putting a finishing touch on an exciting day for the kids.
"This is a great event," said Cindy Gruden, wife of Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden. "I had so much fun with the kids and it's great to get out here and be able to give back to the community that supports us."
Joining Mrs. Gruden at the event were Sonya Campbell, Kate Jenkins, Nikki Johnson, Meagan Jurevicius, Barbara Marinelli, Terrin McKay, Jacki Morris, Linda Ruskell, Kara Stecker, Natalie Wade, Gayle Webster, Amy Whitaker, Natalie Whittle, Dani Wilson and Susan Yoder.