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Rookies Begin Community Outreach With Fuel Up To Play 60 Event

All of the Redskins rookies participated in their first community event, a Fuel Up To Play 60 mini-combine, featuring six local elementary schools, held at Redskins Park.

All of the Redskins rookies participated in their first community event, a Fuel Up To Play 60 mini-combine that featured six local elementary schools at Redskins Park.

In their first official NFL community event, the full class of Redskins rookies -- those drafted and the free agents who recently signed – seemed more excited to participate in Friday's fitness activities than the 150 active elementary students they entertained at Redskins Park.

Redskins Kids Club members had the opportunity to watch rookie minicamp and get autogrpahs from players Saturday at Redskins Park.

The latest Redskins Fuel Up To Play 60 mini-combine, hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, incorporated the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Council and provided another informational and energetic program, serving a healthy lunch and running exercise drills.

Six schools -- four from Loudoun County, Va., and two from Prince George's County, Md. -- received the special event, which took place outdoors and inside the team's indoor training facility, for being "Touchdown Schools," the highest ranking in the Play 60 program. Many students in attendance were labeled ambassadors and have taught their peers how to eat healthy and stay physically fit using the program's six steps.

"This is what it's all about," linebacker Houston Bates said after running around with the students. "In football, everyone gets caught up with the X's and O's. This is really what it's all about, to give back to the community, to have an impact on children's lives -- they look up at you -- and to make an impact on them later on down the road."

The day began on the outdoor practice field, where students ate lunch and watched as their teachers accepted awards on their behalf for instituting the program and keeping its message a priority. Then it was inside to have some fun.

The group of rookies was split into groups and helped moderate six stations, which ranged from running and football drills, to dancing, to a "Simon says" type exercise game. In their first chance to interact with the community, and get away from football together, they all seemed to relish in the opportunity.

"I'm just hoping that they'll take away this [as a] memorable moment for them," wide receiver Jamison Crowder said. "I know if I was a young kid and I got the opportunity and chance to come out here and be around professionals and athletes that would be a memory that sticks with me forever. So I'm just hoping that they just have fun and let it be a memory that sticks with them forever."

Lovettsville Elementary physical education teacher Hugh Brockway certainly hopes so. A longtime Play 60 mentor to other teachers, he has helped spearhead the program in Loudoun County, and knows how important these types of events can be to make an impression.

"We live in Loudoun County and the Redskins home is in Loudoun County," Brockway said. "It really makes a connection there, that they're able to realize, 'Hey, this is part of our community and to have the Redskins offer this opportunity is phenomenal.' It really makes it a real live connection for everybody."

The Washington Redskins held their fourth and final rookie minicamp practice of 2015 the afternoon of May 16, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

The human interaction – seeing offensive lineman Brandon Scherff try some dance moves or watching linebacker Preston Smith do pushups with others – makes the months of information they've acquired feel real and take on a new perspective.

Brockway, who has recently received two grants to further aid his school's playground and cafeteria, is mostly impressed with the grassroots movement the program has established – kids getting other kids excited about staying healthy.

"That's the best part of Fuel Up To Play 60, is that the kids get to have a say in what we do next," Brockway said. "A lot of time they don't get asked what they want to do in school, they get told. This is the opposite… They've got this system like lightning in a bottle."

Calvin Parson, a project coordinator for Fuel Up To Play 60, has been really impressed with the

NFL's partnerships, bridging fitness and school nutrition and watching kids run, literally and figuratively, with it.

"Every time I get to do one of the events where we have player participation it's always great, Parson said. "Seeing them interact with the kids, a lot of them have more fun than the kids do. It's just a wonderful opportunity, sometimes a once in a lifetime opportunity."




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