What do most people want to do on their first week of vacation? Many would say travel or maybe even sleep in. Not Pro-Bowler Gerald McCoy. On Saturday morning, he was back at One Buccaneer Place on the field with hundreds of Bay area youth.
For the second year in row, McCoy works to help build young players fundamentals through the Gerald McCoy Football Clinic. With a special focus on youth from single-parent households, McCoy provided over 100 camp scholarships for youth to attend and enjoy a day on an NFL practice field.
McCoy shares a personal connection with single parents, as both his mother and wife were before they married. "I know how hard it is to make it as a single parent so I want to give the families any opportunity that I could to come out and don't worry about paying," said McCoy. "Bring your child out and let them have a good time and learn some football."
Joined by teammates, Quarterback Jameis Winston, Running Back Doug Martin and Defensive End Channing Ward, the players-turned youth football coaches- led kids, ages 7-14, through non-contact position drills and provided instruction on footwork and accuracy.
Each player took time to walk around the stations and spend time with campers. Whether it was demonstrating a drill, taking a selfie, or talking football, the players influence was visible as kids took in their every word.
During camp, there was a special moment that most wouldn't have noticed, when McCoy comforted a child who was upset about a mistake he made in a drill. McCoy pulled him aside and offered a cup of water and direction; providing not only hydration in the summer heat but self-confidence to the camper who is sure to remember the interaction for years to come.
Program Director for Boys & Girls Club, J.B. Bailey was in attendance with a group of youth from his site and says McCoy's outreach goes a long way. "The support is tremendous because the kids need that positive interaction and to know that someone cares for them," said Bailey. "To see the mega superstar like Gerald McCoy reaching out to them and the ability to see and talk to him is big."
As part of the experience, campers got the opportunity to tour One Buccaneer Place with front office staff, and learn the many facets of a professional football team beyond the field.
As the camp concluded McCoy thanked the parents and camp counselors in attendance before autographing every child's camp photo.