Take a look at some photos from the Youth Football Camp held at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
By Jamie Swimmer
Session two of this year's Steelers Youth Football Camp took place at Slippery Rock University on Monday, as 195 campers from 18 different states came out to the campus fields to receive instruction from current and former Steelers players. The camp staff featured current Steelers B.J. Finney, Arthur Moats, Roosevelt Nix, Robert Golden and Fitzgerald Toussaint, as well as Steelers alumni Mike Schneck, Charlie Batch and Craig Wolfley.
First-time camper Troy Miller and his father Dave made the drive to Slippery Rock from Sandusky, Ohio, citing their loyalty to the Steelers as their motive for coming to check out the two-day camp.
"It's pretty fun running around with the other kids," said Troy Miller. "And it's cool getting to meet some of the players."
"It's great to see everyone out here," said Dave Miller. "You know, a lot of the kids look up to the players, and getting to see that they're a real person and not just somebody on TV. For them to take time out of their schedule to help the kids out is great."
These camps represent not only a positive experience for the kids, but also for the Steelers players in attendance.
"They all have the same goal: they want to teach football and they want to have some fun," said Steelers Youth Football/Marketing Manager Mike Marchinsky. "And I think when they come to the camps – they're tired when they leave – but they get refreshed knowing that this is football and it's supposed to be fun. Sometimes after Spring Ball and OTAs and Mini-Camp the stress level is pretty high for our guys, and coming out here and having a chance to give back and having football at its purest form is a nice thing for them going into summer."
Toussaint echoed Marchinsky's comments, noting how much he values his time interacting with the kids.
"It's an honor just to give back some type of way," said Toussaint. "These kids needs that, especially from some NFL guys, just to see how hard we work and coming out here and actually push them to their limits. I feel like it's big for us, but it's bigger for the kids."
One of the highlights of each Steelers Youth Football Camp comes right before lunch break, when the Steelers players and alumni get an opportunity to give advice to the campers. Finney shared a personal story about his adversity-filled road to the NFL and what he learned from his experiences.
"I tell the kids to just have fun with the game," said Finney. "If you're not having fun with the game, you shouldn't be playing it, you shouldn't be in it. That's what I tell them, is just learn to love the game, fall in love with it, have fun and always improve."