With the official start of the National Football League season still more than four months away, one Super Bowl winner is spending his off season empowering children to get active and eat healthy.
Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty’s foundation is scheduled to host several non-contact football camps across the country this summer to teach young people the basics of the sport. Along with having fun on the field, participants will take part in educational sessions on leading a healthy lifestyle, and camp-goers will be treated to healthy snacks.
The camps tie into the Chris Canty Foundation’s larger effort to reduce childhood obesity and encourage the “total development of youth” through fitness, education and service, president and chairman Joseph Canty tells the Inside Track. The foundation also regularly hosts fitness challenges at elementary schools to inspire kids to become active, along with a number of volunteer service events.
“There’s always an educational aspect to every component we have, but the service component is how they stay engaged,” Canty says.
For example, the foundation recently partnered with the organization MillionTreesNYC to help plant trees in New York. Meanwhile, volunteers took part in a cleanup effort in Charlotte, N.C.
But the football camps remain at the heart of the foundation’s work, and not every child has to be a future gridiron star to take part, Canty says. The physical training offered is designed to be inclusive, helping young people develop a love of activity that they can take with them when the camp has concluded.
The same thing happens when the foundation hosts fitness programs in schools. Although not all of the students are natural athletes, many of the activities are things that football players do to stay in shape, such as bear crawls. Usually, most kids end up surprising themselves with what they are able to do.
“We want to be able to tie into something that’s real in terms of where they are at in life,” Canty explains. “So, the children who aren’t the most athletically gifted, we don’t force them… They just rise to the occasion, they really do.”
The first Chris Canty Camp of Champions is scheduled to take place June 20 in Charlotte, followed by a second camp on June 27 in New York. Several NFL players are expected to join Chris Canty at the two camps. In addition, Chris Canty is expected to travel to Nassau, Bahamas on a trip encouraging young people to give back, where he also will host a football camp.
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