Adam Thielen: Football camp impacts youth

"They’re at such a great age where they can just come out and enjoy it."

Adam Thielen greets football campers on the field.
Adam Thielen greets football campers on the field.

It’s not every day you get to spend the morning with a professional athlete, let alone Adam Thielen, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. On Thursday, June 20, Adam Thielen teamed up with Choice Bank and Sanford Health to put on a youth football camp for students in K-8th grade. Two hundred kids from all over the Fargo-Moorhead area gathered at Shanley High School to run drills, play a little football and hang out with the professional athlete.

Family fun with football

Al Schroeder had a unique opportunity to take his grandson, Nixon Huot, to Thursday’s camp.

“This is the first time I’ve been involved with football practices. His mom and dad asked me if I would take him out here and I said, ‘Sure, let’s have some fun together,’” Schroeder said. “What better way to spend a morning than watching your grandson play football?”

When asked what he’s most excited about for the day, Nixon exclaimed, “Adam Thielen!”

Teamwork and working hard

Eight-year-old Brayden Ross attended the camp, and although he has played football since he was five, today was special for him.

“My favorite part about the camp was the tackling drill and then catching the ball and making a touchdown,” he said. “I learned to never give up on my dreams and that teamwork means helping other people and not hogging the ball.”

Brayden’s mom, Amanda Ross, said she hopes her son took something away from the camp, but also had some fun.

“Football is something he really likes and enjoys and looks forward to, so it really means a lot for him to get to do this,” she said. “I hope he learned hard work and if he continues to work hard he can accomplish what he puts his mind to.”

A lesson in sportsmanship

Attending the football camp was not only a special moment for these kids, but Adam as well. He talked about the experience, spending time with these kids and watching them run around the field, some wearing number 19 (his jersey number).

“Every time we do these camps and I get to hang out with kids it’s probably more fun for me than it is for them,” he said. “It’s a special time for me and my family  to be out here especially now with my son being able to run around, to be back to where I’m from and close to home.”

These football camps are more than just learning technique and running through drills. It’s a chance to make a difference and emphasize fun and teamwork over being the best.

“It’s all about having fun and not getting frustrated if you drop the ball or can’t do something perfect,” Adam said. “They’re at such a great age where they can just come out and enjoy it and work hard and not really worry about being good or being the best. I was never the biggest kid at that age or the fastest, but I had fun hanging out with my friends and playing sports.”

Emphasis on physical activity

Along with emphasizing fun, Adam hopes they take away the key message of being active. “I think if they can just come out here, have fun and enjoy playing with their friends while being outside instead of playing video games is probably the most important,” he said.

The opportunity to meet Adam Thielen and participate in the camp was sure to create a lasting impression on these kids, and he understands just how memorable and important meeting a hero is for them.

“Just the little three seconds of time I got from a guy like Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper when I was younger. … I still remember those moments,” he said. “So I try not to ignore anybody and have a little fun with it because you never know what kind of impact you’ll have on these kids.”

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Posted In Aberdeen, Healthy Living, Orthopedics, Sanford Sports, Sports Medicine