DENVILLE, NJ-- For some children, summer camp comes in the form of arts and crafts and kickball games. For others, summer vacation is used exploring new places and taking exciting trips.
Thanks to Pro Sports Experience, members of the Denville Blue Angels, and players from surrounding towns, got to experience a full week of football drills and education to from former star players of the New York Giants.
Pro Sports Experience holds a camp every year in Denville where some of the great pro players help instruct and talk to the kids. This year, the children who attended Denville's New York Giants football camp, were introduced to Rodney Hampton and Lewis Tillman. Tillman and Hampton were both members of the New York Giants football team in the 1990s.
Tillman and Hampton were both running backs during their careers with the Giants. Hampton was the first round pick in the 1990 NFL draft by the New York Giants, while Tillman was the fourth round pick in the 1989 NFL draft. Both came to talk with and help coach the young campers. Topics included the importance of education, family, and playing the game for the right reasons.
Of course, meeting the greats would also include autographs and pictures for all the participants.
The kids that attend this camp in Denville come from all over the state but mainly the northern New Jersey area. This year is no different, but for 12 year old Wyatt "Vegas" Vialard, he made the trek all the way from Las Vegas, Nevada to spend the summer with his grandparents who live in New Jersey.
"The coolest thing has been learning the running drills and hearing the pros talk. I really enjoyed the offensive drills and the focus on throwing and catching," Vialard said as his coaches watched on.
Head coach in the program, Lou Baldassano, has been in Denville for the past two years for the Denville football camp. He helps the kids learn the drills, but also makes sure that they have fun. The camp is for everyone from punter to quarterback.
"We cover almost every position. We go through offense drills, defense drills, and special team drills. But most importantly, we focus on the kids having fun. We have a big age range, our youngest camper is six and our oldest camper is 12 so incorporating fun is a big part of camp," Baldassano said
Baldassano also stressed the education the campers get on proper technique, especially when tackling. As many people know, the hot topic with contact sports is concussions. Baldassano hopes the kids leave with the understanding of the "heads up" technique they were taught.
"We try to show them that when they tackle, they should never lead with their head. You want to use your arms and legs, but always keep your head up and out of the way."
Frank Pascucci, age 9, enjoyed coming to the camp. As a Denville resident, Pascucci looks forward to bringing his talents back onto the football field for the Denville Blue Angels. He's even taking a new found understanding of new positions and can't wait for practice to start in August.
"I really enjoyed learning about how to play safety and cornerback. Meeting the legends was really neat as well. They taught us about football. They were really cool people," Pascucci told TAP when asked about his favorite part of camp.
Denville also has another sports camp coming up on July 20. The camp will be a baseball camp with the New York Yankees. To register, head over to theNew York Yankees website and fill out the registration form and pay. The camp will run for a full week from 9:00-3:00 pm.