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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Friends of Football

The Boys & Girls Clubs gathered Wednesday for what they hope will be the first of many annual Youth Awards Programs, with Bucs S Jermaine Phillips on hand to lend his support


S Jermaine Phillips presents an award to Kevin Duckworth, a coach for the Brandon Boys & Girls Club flag football team

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay began a new program Wednesday night at Higgins Hall, one they hope to make into an annual tradition, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jermaine Phillips was there to help give it the initial push.

The Youth Awards Program, a banquet the Boys & Girls Clubs metro office plans to make an annual affair, recognized young individuals and area clubs for contributions to the community. Another soon-to-be tradition kicked off at the ceremony as the NFL Youth Football Fund awarded the first of several Friend of Football Volunteer Awards.

Kevin Duckworth, a coach of the Brandon Boys & Girls Club flag football team, received the inaugural Friend award, acknowledging his contributions to youth football in the Tampa Bay area. Phillips was on hand to present the award to Duckworth, who has coached the Brandon team for two years.

In addition to the plaque, the Buccaneers granted Duckworth a scholarship to attend the Huddle 2006 youth football conference in Houston presented by USA Football, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting amateur football. With the scholarship, Duckworth will receive round-trip airfare, complimentary conference registration fees and three nights stay in a local hotel. At the conference, Duckworth will have the chance to enhance his coaching skills by listening to guest speakers, including coaches, from around the NFL.

Duckworth was honored to receive the award, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. He thought he was at the banquet to accept an award on behalf of the Brandon Boys & Girls Club.

"It means a lot because together the kids and I have put in a lot of time and effort, and it was a lot of fun," said Duckworth. "To be recognized for just having fun is kind of nice."

Phillips, too, was honored to be the person who presented Duckworth with the outstanding volunteer award.

"When somebody spends time and gives these kids the opportunity to realize the dreams and aspirations they have can come true, it makes a world of difference," said Phillips. "It's great when you have a guy like Kevin who is giving his time to the community."

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