The National Day of Sport, an annual celebration in Qatar, is an event to encourage and support youth involvement in sport, and through the Redskins partnership with the Embassy, took place at FedExField on February 12, 2019.
Both a safe haven from the cold temperatures and wet conditions and an unforgettable experience for over 500 children, the FedExField club level concourse Tuesday, Feb. 12, served as the host venue for a Day of Sport Celebration for local fourth and fifth grade students.
A joint effort between the Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C., the event coincided with National Sports Day, an annual celebration in Qatar that encourages and supports youth involvement in sport and highlights the benefits of an active lifestyle.
As part of the new relationship, the Embassy donated $150,000 to the Charitable Foundation, which will benefit a variety of Play 60 and youth health and wellness initiatives, with a specific focus on programs supporting children with physical and mental disabilities.
"It was so important because we value what the Redskins Foundation does, how it works with the community and what it gives to children," Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the U.S., said. "Our objective is to promote sports and today is a day in Qatar where everyone goes out to practice any type of sport, and in a way to promote a healthy lifestyle."
Al Thani was joined alongside numerous Redskins executives including Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, team President Bruce Allen, current players Vernon Davis, Josh Norman and Chris Thompson, along with several alumni, including Derrick Dockery, Ricky Ervins, Kedric Golston, Kyshoen Jarrett, Brig Owens, and many more.
Using the entire length of the concourse, the Charitable Foundation transformed the Club Level with Play 60 activations used at the NFL Experience at Super Bowl LIII, which included a timed 40 yard dash, quarterback toss, Play 60 obstacle course, rookie skills camp and more.
Students from Lake Arbor Elementary School (PGCPS), Plummer Elementary School (DCPS), River Terrace Education Campus (DCPS), Savoy Elementary School (DCPS), and Special Olympics Virginia, also learned about eating healthy from Redskins head chef Connor McGuire at a Nutrition Lab. For a lunch break, Subway provided healthy meals for every student.
"Days like today really help stress the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and getting young people into the habit of enjoying exercise," said Jane Rodgers, Executive Director of the Redskins Charitable Foundation. "We are grateful that Qatar is supporting us in helping local students stay active and Playing 60; and for their continued support that will enable us to expand our sports programming throughout the DMV."
To provide more cultural context, students also stopped by a special Qatari exhibit containing virtual reality headsets that simulate Souq Waqif, an open-air market and cultural hub in Doha, and an Arabic learning station with Qatar Foundation International.
"It's great anytime you can bring two worlds together," Davis said. "It brings a lot of visibility to the idea of change, right? Change is actually going to happen. It's not just an idea, but it's something that's being implemented and it's going to take place, and it's a great thing. I love the support and cause, if it's in the event of someone else getting better and benefitting from something extremely awesome."
"[It means a lot] to give back to the community and extend the sport that gave me so much in football," Golston said. "Being able to give that to other cultures and what physical fitness and sport means to young people as far as just being healthy with confidence and getting them out and moving – a healthy body means a healthy mind and vice-versa. It's always good to see the smiles on these kids' faces when they're just having a good time."
Those students who attended received lunch and got a special tour of the Redskins' locker room, capping a star-studded day that included plenty of photos and autographs, highlighting the importance of being active every day.
"We hope that this will help them to start thinking of their experience today and how it would affect them positively in the future," Al Thani said.