SYCAMORE — At a camp featuring three Northern Illinois University defensive backs on Sunday, Jordan Gandy said he felt good giving back.
He also said he felt something else working with the youth of the community, having grown up in DeKalb.
“It definitely makes me feel a little old, that’s for sure,” the NIU junior cornerback and DeKalb graduate said. “It’s cool. I remember how excited we were when the players would do stuff for us when we were little. To kind of do the same thing is pretty cool.”
Gandy, Devin Lafayette and Eric Rogers were instructors Sunday morning at the Youth Pride Foundation’s Skills and Drills football camp at the YMCA in Sycamore.
It was the third camp this summer put on by the foundation, with DeKalb grads and NIU athletes A’Jah Davis and Cole Tucker hosting camps in June.
Foundation president John Walker said 37 campers registered for the camp, which was open to kindergarten through eighth graders.
“It was a good experience,” Gandy said. “I think the kids had fun and that’s the important thing.”
Rogers, who started five games before suffering an injury last year, is a sophomore cornerback for the Huskies out of Burlington, New Jersey.
“It was a real fun experience for me,” Rogers said. “And I know it was a real fun experience for Jordan, getting out and helping kids in the community playing football and doing the things we love.”
Rogers said the camps are a good way to build a relationship with the community.
“I think it’s a big thing for us football players to show our face in the community and do things like this,” Rogers said. “They’re the ones at our home games, supporting us, cheering us on during the season. It’s really good to show our faces in the community and do things like this.”
Freshman Devin Lafayette was injured in the first game last year, missing the whole season.
“It’s something I do back home, kind of give back to the community,” Lafayette said. “I appreciate John and Jordan setting this up so we can give back to the DeKalb community since we play here.”
Gandy said he’s been impressed with the work of the Youth Pride Foundation so far.
“I think it’s very important,” Gandy said. “Youth sports definitely need it, and I think it’s going to bring the community together and bring some positive people to step up in people’s lives.”
Walker said the progress of the foundation, which was launched in March and started in earnest with the camps this summer, is a work in progress. He said there will be a few fundraisers coming up ahead of forming a travel basketball team in March.
He said that Sunday’s camp had a very special meaning to him, getting to work with family in Gandy.
“He’s my stepson, I’ve been taking care of him for half his life. But we don’t do that in our household. I’m his dad,” Walker said. “I take care of him, I love him and I take care of him like he’s my biological son. That’s what we are and that’s what we’ve always been. He knows that and I know that.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle