The 2022 NFL Draft may be in the books, but potential draft picks of tomorrow recently got a taste of what being a leader in the NFL is like as they participated in the Los Angeles Chargers Take Charge summit.
Nearly 100 high school football players representing 50 school throughout the Greater L.A. area attended the four-hour summit in the Bolts' locker room at SoFi Stadium. They were led through elements directly from the NFL Player Engagement's "character development" curriculum. The components of the curriculum were designed to make them better leaders both on and off the football field.
The student-athletes were introduced to a variety of speakers including Sr. Director of Player Engagement Arthur Hightower, Team Dietitian Paige Crawford, as well as Chargers players Asante Samuel Jr. and Joshua Palmer. Additionally, the students received a presentation from Managing Director of American Airlines at LAX – Lokesh Amaranayaka, who spoke on the vital importance of on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in every aspect of life.
"For American Airlines, serving our community is vital and we have a special relationship with the Chargers," Amaranayaka said. "The reason we spoke about leadership to these student-athletes today is that as leaders of their football teams, it's important that they understand the role that they play. Leading by example, being someone that others look up to, and leading with a steady and patient approach are all very important."
As someone who deals with current and former players, Hightower was excited to be able to impact a group so early on in their football careers.
"I think it feels good knowing that we can start younger," Hightower reflected. "A lot of work goes on with the NFL now and the movement we have. We have our prep, life, and next connection to player engagement, so this is part of the 'prep.' This is reaching out to the younger generation of future football players. The 'life' is obviously, dealing with current football players, and the 'next' is dealing with the Legends. This is where it starts. One of these guys could be one of the players in a locker room in the league at some point."
In order to complete the 'Take Charge' program, the students were tasked with developing a community service project and having their teammates help assist in it. The school with the best service project will receive a $2,000 donation from the Chargers and American Airlines to their football program/athletic department. The runner-up school will receive $1,000.
While only the top two school will receive donations, every participant that completes a service project will still earn something pretty special – two tickets to a Chargers home game this fall.
Last weekend, the Chargers teamed up with American Airlines to host their annual Take ChargeSummit for local high school football players from 50 schools throughout the Greater LA area. The student-athletes were hosted in the Bolts' locker room at SoFi Stadium where they discussed topics such as leadership, character, healthy relationships, social media awareness, and more with Chargers players Asante Samuel Jr. and Joshua Palmer. Participants will complete service projects in their community over the Summer months to earn tickets to a Bolts' home game in the Fall.
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