The Los Angeles Chargers and National Fitness Foundation (NFF) today announced an important partnership aimed at supporting and expanding youth sport and athletics participation in the United States.
The Chargers, who for decades have been a leading advocate for youth sports initiatives, are the first professional sports franchise to support the National Youth Sports Strategy – a comprehensive physical activity plan for American youth authored by the Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. In addition, the Chargers are also supporting the National Endowment for Youth Sports – an endowment dedicated to furthering the goals and objectives of the National Youth Sports Strategy.
Through this partnership, the Chargers are making the NFF's National Youth Sports Strategy a key component of the team's youth and high school football programming beginning with Chargers Fantennial Weekend. The weekend, a celebration of the NFL's centennial and Charger's 60th season, officially begins Friday, Sept. 20 when current and former Chargers visit Crenshaw High School for the school's Friday Night Lights match-up against Lawndale High School. Crenshaw Head Coach Robert Garrett was named the Chargers Coach of the Year in 2017 and was subsequently honored as the NFL Don Shula Coach of the Year from a list of 32 finalists. Lining up across from Garrett is Lawndale Head Coach Travis Clark, the 2018 Chargers Coach of the Year who led the Cardinals to a State Championship the same year. Prior to the battle of high school powerhouses, both school's head coaches will be invited to sign the American Youth Sports Pledge, a commitment to honoring the values of youth sports in America.
For nearly two decades, the Chargers have teamed up with the NFL to host the team's High School Football Coach of the Week program. Annually, this program recognizes high school football coaches who have made a difference in the lives of their players through leadership, hard work and a special dedication to their young scholar athletes. Each winning coach receives a monetary award for their school's athletic department. In 2017, the Chargers High School Football Coach of the Week program expanded to Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties. In each county, 10 coaches are selected for the honor annually, with three coaches of the year (one in each county) honored with another monetary award for their respective athletic department. Additionally, one coach is nominated by the team for the NFL's national honor.
The Bolts 2019 rookie class joined up with LaDainian Tomlinson and members of the Inglewood community to host a group from Centinela elementary school at Champions Field in Inglewood on September 10th, 2019.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the team will host a Fantennial Bolts Bash at The Grove LA to recognize fans for their support and honor Chargers Legends involved in the top 10 plays/moments in franchise history. That evening, all Legends and local elected officials on-hand for the celebration will be invited to sign the American Youth Sports Pledge.
The Chargers Fantennial Weekend concludes Sunday, Sept. 22, with the annual Legends game as the Chargers host the Houston Texans. Prior to the game, the team will operate a Quarterback Toss drill on the stadium concourse and will invite fans to sign the American Youth Sports Pledge at that time. During the game, the Chargers will run video re-caps promoting the National Youth Sports Strategy, National Endowment for Youth Sports and the American Youth Sports Pledge.
Since 2017, the Chargers have hosted 159 Junior Chargers Training Camps (Play60s) throughout Southern California and impacted nearly 15,000 youth. Additionally, in 2018, the Chargers announced a three-year, seven-figure investment in Summer Night Lights youth sports programming through the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) and the GRYD Foundation. For over a decade, Summer Night Lights has kept recreation centers and parks open and provided free programming to youth and adults during late evening hours to keep vulnerable youth off the streets. The Chargers support ensures that youth sports programming at all 32 locations across Los Angeles remain free, providing a safe place for kids to play in their neighborhoods.
"We're excited to partner with the Los Angeles Chargers," said Clay Walker, Executive Director of the National Fitness Foundation. "The Chargers and Spanos family's long-term commitment and generous support for local youth football makes the franchise an ideal partner for launching a National Youth Sports Strategy aimed at increasing youth sports participation in America."
"The Spanos Family is well known for its generous support of local youth and high school football. In fact, the Chargers are the only NFL team to be recognized as NFL Team of the Year twice by the National Pop Warner Little Scholars organization," said Fred Maas, Chief of Staff of the Los Angeles Chargers. "Given the franchise's long-standing support of local youth sports and commitment to running as many activations as possible within our community, we believe this is the ideal partnership and are honored to become the first professional franchise to support the National Youth Sports Strategy and the National Endowment for Youth Sports."