EUGENE, Ore. — Duck football players were in action Sunday but it was nothing competitive.
A group of volunteer athletes called, O Heroes, partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley to run a football camp for kids.
Dozens of kids were at the Moshofsky Center to be a part of the camp organized by a current Duck player and the Boys and Girls Club. Organizers say kids learned skills, sportsmanship, and lessons beyond sports.
“My son is pretty stoked. He was smashing it out on some of those dummies over there,” said Lisa Anderson, a Harrisburg resident who had children participate in the camp.
Every kid has a dream and a passion and every parent finds joy in seeing their kids work toward it.
“Pure excitement all the way here. About half an hour of really happy kids who were excited to have the opportunity to play with some pretty great players,” said Anderson.
Her kids love football and on Sunday afternoon, they got to learn from current and former Oregon Duck players.
“When they get to see and interact with a player they’ve seen on TV, they’re eyes light up and they’re just amazed,” said Kassey Mosher, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley.
The players running the camp say sharing their knowledge of skills, sportsmanship, and self-discipline with the youth is important to them because they had similar role models growing up.
“As a kid, you have big dreams. You want to compete with the best and be at the top level you can get,” said Alejandro Maldonado, a former player for the Ducks.
“As a kid growing up in the bay area, I was able to go to camps when I was little with former college players and even NFL players, who always gave back to the community,” said Erick Dargan, a current player for the Ducks and organizer of the camp.
The kids sharpened their passing, catching, and kicking skills for free. Dargan says making the camp free of charge was important to him because he doesn’t believe there’s a price to dreams and goals.
“Some of my peers growing up really didn’t have the money to afford camps and if you can just participate in something fun for free, why not? It’s always good to give back. I just wanted to make it free of charge and everything, just come out here and have some fun with me and my teammates,” said Dargan.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Anderson.
The Boys and Girls Club says this is the first football camp they’ve had and they plan on having another one this summer.