Sweat dripped off many young boys and girls' foreheads while they persevered through the heat at the 8th annual Ernie Sims Youth Football and Cheer Clinic.
The City’s Parks and Recreations and Neighborhood Affairs Department hosted this year’s camp, inviting several children from several summer programs. Many parks and recreation and neighborhood affairs groups attended the event; Havana Parks and Recreation, Leap Community Program, Quincy Park and Recreation, Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend and many others participated.
Ernie Sims, an NFL linebacker who played college football for Florida State University in his native Tallahassee, Fla., is currently a free agent and loves giving back to his community.
“I love kids and I love to see the passion they bring out here on the field," said Sims. "It’s never about me, it will always be about my community and the kids who I have had a chance to impact.”
Sims was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Sims has always had a passion for football and it shows through the clinics that he has provided for his community.
Kids learned hands-on instructions about football and cheerleading. Character traits such as perseverance and self-motivation were emphasized by the camp counselors to help them become successful athletes.
B.J. Daniels, wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks said “It’s never about us coming out here and taking pictures. Ernie and I were raised here in Tallahassee. It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t give back to our community.”
As kids surrounded Daniels to take pictures and learn techniques, many parents and volunteers stood back watching him work. "We are so happy to be here and meet the pro players. We just forget about the sun and get to work,” said 12-year-old Khary Wright.
"When Ernie told me about this idea in 2008, we had to do a lot of planning to make it happen," said Alice Sims, Ernie's mother. "Many kids are doing positive things and what better way to enhance their capabilities by bringing this clinic into our community."
On Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at TCC Student Ballroom, Sims awarded young local men and women athletics with college scholarships. Also, they recognized local heroes who are impacting the lives of the children and people within the city.
City Commissioner Curtis Richardson said “I have always been a huge fan of the Sims family. They serve as role models for our community and this event is one of the most important for the children in our community."
“I feel accomplished, I am so grateful to say I will leave a legacy that helped many children succeed,” said Sims.