CAMDEN, NJ — More than 100 Camden children took part in a football skills and drills clinic at the Camden High School field that featured former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski.
The Camden Health & Athletic Association came together with first-time partner Jaws Youth Playbook to host the free event, which was open to residents ages 5 to 16. A series of drills were held to help the youth enhance their passing, catching, and running in a non-contact setting.
Camden High football coaches, Cooper Health employees, and other volunteers assisted in activities for the third annual clinic on Friday.
Jaworski, whose organization promotes health and wellness in communities across Greater Philadelphia, delivered a message to the children of having fun and always taking advantage of opportunities in the city to get active.
The clinic also serves as "a springboard" into the fall seasons for the five Camden youth football programs, said CHAA executive athletic director Al Dyer.
Bringing on a representative from the National Football League has been the case each year, Dyer said. Previously, that individual had ties even closer to the city.
The CHAA leaned on Camden native Haason Reddick, the star Arizona Cardinals linebacker, in getting the event off the ground and hosting the drills.
Reddick had just been selected from Temple University in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft when the city's inaugural clinic was set. This helped lead to a wave of 300-plus participants, Dyer said.
A frequent partner with Camden programs, Jaworski stepping in this year worked out great, according to Dyer.
While the 2019 clinic saw a drop in attendance, he chalked it up to having to hold the event on a Friday morning rather than the weekend, as in the past. But that didn't take away from Dyer feeling that his "objective was accomplished."
"Even if we service one kid I'm happy," he said. "Anytime I can get kids to participate in a program in the city is always a great day."
The CHAA was formed in 2016 through an initial funding pledge of $1 million from the Cooper Foundation, the Norcross Foundation, and AmeriHealth New Jersey.