Draft Family Fitness Day Set for May 9 in St. Louis

April 19, 2009

Draft Family Fitness Day Set for May 9 in St. Louis

By Nick Wagoner
Senior Writer
Courtesy, stlouisrams.com

On May 9, the Chris Draft Family Foundation will host its signature event, the Draft Family Fitness Day at Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. The emphasis on this Draft day will have nothing to do with selecting college players to build the roster.

In fact, the key word for the event is family.

“We are going to take back our families,” Draft said. “It all starts with family; we got off track because we didn’t take care of our families. To get back on track, we will take care of our families.”

At the root of the event is that very principle. The Draft Family Fitness day is unlike most other football camps. In fact, it’s unlike most other camps where the parents simply sign their child up, write a check, drop them off and pick them up after.

No, this event is a wellness camp for the entire family with a little something for everyone.

Youth ages 12-18 and their parents from all over the St. Louis metropolitan area will get the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of topics from Draft and his assembled team of instructors.

Participants are checked by a group of schools and community agents as “Draft’s Picks,” which are the kids selected based on demonstrating a high standard of character and leadership. Those ambassadors are given the task of going to their schools and agencies after the event to share information and strategies they will learn.

More important to Draft, though, is the opportunity for kids and their parents to participate in an event that caters to everyone and focuses on physical and mental health.

“I have done a lot of camps and had the chance to really talk with our youth and I feel like you get to impart knowledge on them,” Draft said. “But understanding that if you can’t get that same knowledge to the parents, where is it going to be backed up? Parents are not just parents but they are also coaches. If we don’t get the message of say, sportsmanship, or the message of how important physical fitness is in general or the importance of nutrition, the importance of having a goal and giving everything you have. If that’s not backed up by the parents it’s difficult for the message to get through.”

The message of health and wellness is relatively simple to comprehend but difficult in its largesse. Draft has set up Draft Day with the intent of covering a broad spectrum of topics that will appeal to parents and kids alike.

The youth sessions include wellness advice including asthma awareness (another of Draft’s many causes), nutritional information, yoga instruction, an activities portion that includes outdoor and indoor agility drills led by current and former NFL players, a girls only session led by Rams cheerleaders, a guys only session led by Rams players, a session centered on financial advice for kids and a session on setting and achieving goals.

The parents will also have a variety of sessions that includes healthy cooking led by local chefs, a coaches and parents roundtable with members of the Rams coaching staff, a financial literacy session, a question and answer session on various health issues, a portion on massage therapy and the opportunity to participate in some of the aforementioned agility drills and fitness tests.

“It’s something for everybody,” Draft said. “The parents have their own sessions and the kids have their own sessions then we bring ambassadors. We are going to touch metro St. Louis. We are not just bringing 180 kids just from Herbert Hoover. We are bringing 180 from East St. Louis, north city, the central west end, south city, north county, west county, St. Charles county. We are bringing them in from all over the place and we are really trying to send the message that everybody has a very similar fight right now. We have to do it together. We have to look at St. Louis as a whole and not just in parts.”

This is the fourth incarnation of the Draft Family Fitness Day after something similar was done last year in St. Louis. Draft, who maintains connections to his former NFL cities, said there will be one in Atlanta similar to the St. Louis one this year.

Beyond the wellness aspect of the day, Draft believes the true emphasis is getting parents on the same page and interested in the same things as their kids.

“One of the hardest things and it’s so crazy, it’s hard for people to accept the fact that we are actually inviting the parents,” Draft said. “We are inviting them. We want them involved. I think that’s one of the problems we have right now is that somehow it’s an elective to be a parent. Somehow it’s an elective to say ‘I take care of my kids.’ That’s not enough. As people understand that and buy in, it will allow us to do a lot more.”