Over the weekend, the Bolts held their first youth football camp at Hoag Performance Center.
The Los Angeles Chargers Elite Skills (L.A.C.E.S.) Camp gave boys and girls ages 7-14 a chance to develop skills to reach the peak of their athletic ability. At the end of the camp, three participants were honored with teamwork, leadership and effort awards, and four kids received golden cleats awards for posting the fastest 40-yard dash times.
Proceeds from the event benefited the Chargers Community Foundation, which has led the way in honoring volunteers, assisting youth sports and helping critical causes important to the region. Additionally, since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $11 million in direct community assistance.
"(This allows) us to create access and opportunities in sports for youth in Southern California," said Chase Hartman, Chargers Community Relations Manager. "The funds raised for this camp are going to allow us to run other similar camps in spring for youth in disadvantaged areas, so they can experience a Chargers camp as well."
Along with numerous esteemed high school coaches who assisted the campers through drills, Chargers first-round draft pick Jerry Tillery was on-hand at the inaugural event. New to the Los Angeles area, Tillery was excited to participate in a Q&A with the kids and join those coaches in the drills before signing autographs.
"I wanted to come and spend some time with the kids and get myself out there in the community," Tillery mentioned. "I think that's a big part of coming to a new city, engaging with the fans, and I think I was able to do that today."
Jerry Tillery was on-hand at the Los Angeles Chargers Elite Skills (L.A.C.E.S.) Camp giving boys and girls ages 7-14 a chance to develop skills to reach the peak of their athletic ability.
What was most special to Tillery was the ability he had to directly impact local kids' lives. Growing up in Shreveport, La., Tillery remembers attending local youth football camps and how they influenced his life and his love for the game. By attending the L.A.C.E.S. Camp on Saturday, he hopes he did the same for many of the over 100 participants.
"Growing up in Louisiana, I would always go to the Saints' camps," he said. "I remember coming to something like this, and I remembered how much it meant to me. So I wanted to give these kids the same experience. Seeing an NFL player here helping out with the drills and engaging with the kids in the community, I think it means a lot to them, and it did for me when I was in their position. I'm glad to have been able to impact them that way."
"It was amazing having Jerry out," Hartman added. "For kids to come out here and meet a real-life NFL player and (for it) to be one of our first-round draft picks makes it even more exciting. Jerry said when he was (in) their shoes, he went to a camp and it really started him out on that path to want to become a professional athlete. Hopefully it made a little bit of an impact on kids out here today and pushed them in that positive direction as well."
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