Arizona Cardinals Team Up with Gila River Resorts & Hotels to Host Football Camp
May 06, 2022
Gila River Indian News
Youth from the Gila River Indian Community took to the field to learn the fundamentals of football from the pros on April 23 when the Arizona Cardinals organization and Gila River Resorts & Casinos teamed up to host a youth football camp at the District 4 ball field.
The team’s mascot, “Big Red,” former Cardinals guard Taitusi “Deuce” Lutui and Cardinals Community Relations and Youth Football Manager Coach Mo Streety led about 40 young Community members in a series of drills.
The morning started out with stretches and warm-ups to get everyone ready. The drills tested participants’ ability to pass, rush and catch a pass, all while in continuous movement.
At each station, the Cardinals cheerleaders along with Lutui and Big Red encouraged the youths to try their hardest. Big Red and Lutui often switched roles, playing both defense and offense depending on the station.
“The purpose of today’s camp is to have five stations where the kids get to interact and catch the football, throw and run with it to get them more fit,” said Streety. He said the youth football camps are part of the NFL’s “Play 60” initiative that brings the Cardinals to communities in and around the Phoenix area.
According to the NFL’s website, “NFL Play 60 is the league’s national youth and wellness campaign that encourages kids to get physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.”
“I’ve been with youth football in Arizona for almost 30 years,” said Streety. “This year (we have) about 30 to 40 events, which can serve as many as 200 kids a week.” The football camps vary in size and are geared for youths of various ages, he added.
After the football camp was over, each participant received an autographed poster of the Cardinals Cheerleader squad.
“[We] love bringing these types of activities out to the kids,” said Manuel Hernandez, Gila River Resorts & Casinos public relations coordinator. “This is the first one we’ve hosted coming out of the pandemic. It is really good to have the kids out, meeting Big Red and the players and having a good time.”
Hernandez said the youth camp is one way Gila River Resorts & Casinos and local sports teams give back to the Community. “Everything we do with our partners reflects the Community, so we invite them out to the Community to interact with the members and youth.”