Nike N7 Inspires Native Youth Through Sports Camps
Gila River Indian News
In conjunction with Super Bowl LVII, Hundreds of Native youths from across the Valley participated in Play Inspired Sports Camps for golf and football hosted by Nike N7 on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community featuring Nike N7 ambassadors from various sports disciplines.
“These camps are, personally, a dream come true,” said Sam McCracken, General Manager for Nike N7, “When I wrote the original business plan 20-plus years ago, it was about bringing sports and its benefits to our kids. So overall, I think it was a huge success.”
The first camp was held at the Talking Stick Golf Club on Sunday, Feb. 5, in partnership with the Notah Begay III Foundation, First Tee-Phoenix, and US Sports Camps. Over 20 GRIC youth participated, and GRIC Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis served as a guest speaker.
This camp focused on getting youths active and learning the sport fundamentals of golf. Youths trained alongside professional Native American golfers and N7 ambassadors Notah Begay III and Gabby Lemieux and former major league baseball player Jacoby Ellsbury.
“It’s been amazing, because they really helped us out, and I learned a lot about my stance and formation,” said GRIC youth Aaliyah Antone, District 3. “These camps are amazing, and you really improve on everything you know already.”
“It’s such an inspiration for these kids,” said Crystal Dixon, whose children attended the camps.
“I’m grateful for the Community for providing these camps for our youth; it’s such a benefit for them that I never had as a kid.”
The second Play Inspired Sports Camp for football was held Friday, Feb. 10 at Salt River High School. Fifty GRIC youths and 200 others participated.
Gov. Lewis provided a welcome at the beginning of the camp to encourage the youth to pursue their athletic aspirations.
“I’m so proud to be here with you tonight on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, among our relatives,” said Gov. Lewis, “Remember the value system that you learn playing sports and that each and every single one of you have a sacred gift to give to make the world a better place.”
Organizers led the participants through various training modules, exercises and drills to help learn or improve their skills.
Professional athletes Jeremy Chinn, Christian Watson, Trey McBride, and Jacoby Ellsbury led the various activity stations throughout the night, which was a treat for the youths.
Rounding out the night, NFL wide receiver Davante Adams provided closing remarks. He shared how important it was to play multiple sports early on to learn what works best and stressed the importance of education for young athletes. He noted that his high school academics affected his college prospects and forced him to take his schooling seriously.
Adams also attributed his success to his work ethic and finding the right people to push him and support his goals in high school, college and the NFL.
“Understand that the work and details you give is what sets everyone apart,” Adams said, “but if you really want to push it to the next level, the details and work you put in in the offseason, the times when no one is looking, is the most important.”