Tuesday night was a fun one at the Redskins indoor practice facility in Ashburn, Virginia, as the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted local Loudoun County students in the second-annual Gatorade Junior Training Camp. The group included 150 middle schoolers who participated in a wide variety of football drills to help develop their skills.
Along with the current Redskins linebacker duo of Reuben Foster and Jon Bostic, a group of Redskins alumni, which included running back Evan Royster, wide receiver Josh Morgan, linebacker Rocky McIntosh and linebacker Dion Foxx, came out to assist the students as well.
"I was in these kids shoes one day," Bostic said. "They look up to us. When I was in their shoes then, I looked up to a lot of players the same way they look up to us."
All the athletes gathered together before beginning any of the drills and held a dynamic stretch period to make sure their bodies were warmed up. After stretching, the athletes split up into five groups and started with drills that highlighted pass catching and throwing accuracy. Students had the opportunity to interact with other athletes in their local communities.
Morgan embraces being a positive role model for young athletes.
"There's a lot of bright kids with bright futures," he said, "so I'm all about making a difference."
Participants came from nine different middle schools in Loudoun County. One student, Omar Abushaban from Trailside Middle School in Ashburn, really enjoyed competing in the various drills. His favorite was the end zone wide receiver drill, where participants tried to keep two feet inbounds with the help of Morgan. Abushaban attended a similar camp when he was in elementary school, but he thought his more recent experience was better.
"The drills are a lot better now and they make you work harder," Abushaban said.
Royster and Morgan helped spearhead the offensive drills by providing demonstrations and offering tips as the young athletes progressed through them.
"On the field, I'm trying to teach them to never settle," Morgan said. "If you make a mistake, let your next rep be your best rep, make your next play your best play."
After the offensive portion of the event, the focus switched to helping teach some defensive skills, including speed and the ability to break on the ball.
Events like these present a great opportunity for alumni to interact with fans. Participating in these events help students develop on the field, but it also teaches them some important lessons off of it.
"Seeing everybody just come together and work as a team, I think that's a great characteristic to have," McIntosh said.
"Hard work translates on the field to off the field," Royster added. "A lot of the things I learned from football, I translate into my everyday life now."