Each year at Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors & Ferris, community groups are invited to come relax, and enjoy a fun day of football. These organizations, work with the Buffalo Bills Community Relations department to provide families a unique opportunity to get out and experience the Buffalo Bills spirit up close and personal at practice. Here is a breakdown of some of the groups that visited.
1. Big personalities on display
Saturday, July 29 was a special day for many of the children who made it out to Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors & Ferris, but especially Jack Frost, the self-proclaimed "Bills Encyclopedia." Frost woke up on Saturday, hopped out of his Bills-themed bed, put on his jersey, and anxiously awaited the opportunity to watch his favorite team practice. In between listing stats, Frost mentioned that he hoped to meet Bills new Head Coach, Sean McDermott. Lucky for Frost, his dream became a reality when he not only had a chance following practice to discuss the Bills upcoming season with Coach McDermott, but also received signatures from some of his favorite players.
2. Two teams, same goal
The Buffalo City Youth Football organization works with children between the ages of five and 15, to provide an opportunity for the children to learn, practice, and develop football skills. Their motto is "God, Family, Football," stated one of the supervisors. "God being first always, family meaning you represent your last name, and then football." The goal of the program is to help children learn through football, encouraging the children to be respectful, allowing them to make friends, and use their extra energy in a positive way. For one student, football provided an outlet to exercise, which in turn helped him to do better in school, especially in math. The group was excited to get to meet the team, get autographs, and spend a day watching many of their role models.
Stone's Buddies is an organization that works in conjunction with Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, to provide support for families of children with chronic illnesses. For many of these families, Stone's Buddies provides an opportunity to get out into the community, participating in activities they would not be able to do otherwise, and a chance to make friends that understand the circumstances they face each day. Getting to attend Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors & Ferris, was the highlight of Aston, Preston, and their parents' week. Seeing their favorite players right before their eyes, and being a part of the Bills community, made this opportunity extremely special for Aston and Preston.
4. Bills build bonds
The Do the Right Thing organization works with school-aged kids to promote positive behavior and foster good relationships between children and the police department in Rochester. Whether they perform one good deed, or start a bike club like one student did, the program rewards children for making good decisions. For many of the students, this was their first time at Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors & Ferris, but hopefully not their last. After bonding with players over having the same haircut, and taking selfies, the children left smiling from spending the day watching their favorite sports team.