Youngstown, OH (WKBN) – Hundreds of kids across the Valley attended football camps Saturday led by NFL players Brad Smith and Mario Manningham, with the focus on paying it forward.
“We want to give back and we want to make sure that these kids know that they have to give back too,” said Smith. “They just can’t receive, but the next step is to give back to others around them.”
“Pretty much the main emphasis is to be selfess,” said New York Jets linebacker David Harris. “Helping each other…you’re a part of something bigger than yourself and we try to teach that to the kids.”
It’s the seventh year that Brad Smith has held his camp in Youngstown, which keeps getting bigger and better every year. As for his game, Smith currently plays wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles and after an injury a year ago, he is expecting a big 2014 season
“It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time, September can’t get here fast enough,” he said.
Over in Warren, Harding grad Mario Manningham held his 5th annual skills camp for ages 7 through 18. And like Smith, his mission is all about the kids.
“[When I was younger, there wasn’t anybody] that came back like these kids…they didn’t have anybody to look up to,” said Manningham. “So as much as I can I try to come back and inspire these kids because they are the future.”
“The way our kids look at it, the younger kids, they say, [Mario]’s made it, he’s at the highest level, which is the NFL,” said Warren Harding head coach Steve Arnold. “So now he’s coming back, and giving our community, the opportunity to interact with him and have some fun.”
Fun was had by all Saturday, with lessons learned well beyond the football field.