LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) – "What separates us is the compassion and heart, the men that we have on this football field," Jason Trosclair told a group of Long Beach Middle School students Friday. "A lot of the people I work with, they're good men. They have hearts. They care."
Trosclair is the Director of Youth Programs for the New Orleans Saints football program. On Friday, he brought Saints Junior Training Camp to Long Beach Middle School. Training day began with a pep talk in the gym. As a motivator, he gave away some valuable Saints prizes.
"This practice jersey, you cannot buy anywhere. It's team-issued," Trosclair said as he held up a Ricky Jackson jersey.
Then it was time to hit the field for an hour-long work-out. About 280 students went through several football challenges, from the wide receiver drill and sacking the quarterback, to a Reggie Bush favorite, tackling the Vertical Jump challenge.
The Training Camp helps promote the national Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The Long Beach students are being drafted by the Saints to eat healthy and get active.
"Simply want kids to understand the benefits of getting out and exercising for simply 60 minutes a day," said Trosclair. "We got seven stations set up today, utilizing the same equipment that our guys use on a daily basis, not just training camp. It's the same footwork, fundamentals, and agilities. We just make more of an obstacle course for them."
The program is a win-win situation. It helps boost the school's health and fitness program. And for the students, they get to catch a piece of the NFL experience.
"Instead of watching TV, you get out and get active," said 12-year-old Caroline Bassett.
"Yeah, it's awesome! Like you don't see this every day," said 12-year-old Mauvelis Olive.
"I think it's awesome, but the tackling one is the best one here," said 12-year-old Cade Gilbert.
"We're really lucky to have them come out here and do this for us," said 12-year-old Graham Gremilion.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program is sponsored by the NFL and the National Dairy Council.
The students who went through Junior Saints Training Camp Friday also got a chance to win a football autographed by Marques Colston and a lithograph signed by the entire team.