Packers youth football event visits Tigerton

Kids run through fun drills
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Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar The Packers Youth Football Outreach Camp visited Tigerton Elementary School on Tuesday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. The kids went through drills such as catching, diving for a touchdown, kicking and a relay race.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar The Packers Youth Football Outreach Camp visited Tigerton Elementary School as part of NFL’s Play 60 initiative to keep kids active. About 90 kids participated in the event on Tuesday.

Tigerton Elementary School kids had the chance to practice like the Green Bay Packers during a Youth Football Outreach Camp on Tuesday.

The Packers hosted the camp as part of the NFL Play 60 program to tackle childhood obesity by getting kids active for one hour each day.

“The running is my favorite part,” fifth-grader Joey Zimdars said, “and diving for the ball like a professional player.”

“You look around and you see all the kids are smiling and having fun,” Packers youth football coordinator Ryan Fencl said. “Whether they go home and are watching TV or playing on their phones or other technology in this day and age, this gives them a way to make sure they’re getting some activity in their day.”

The event was held at Tigerton High School and included about 90 first- through fifth graders. The kids were able to run through football drills including kicking, throwing, leaping for a catch, diving for a touchdown and a relay race.

Retired Packers running back Tony Fisher was there to interact with the kids.

“It’s fun because it’s not the norm for them,” Fencl said. “They don’t do this every day, so it’s a fun unique activity where they get to run around and be football players for the day. They look up to a lot of NFL players, and this gives them a chance to be like their heroes and have one here with them.”

The camp travels to about 40 elementary schools throughout the state each year. The school district has been affiliated with Play 60 for three years.

“When I heard about this program, I knew it was something our kids would love,” said Amy Laatsch, Play 60 adviser and Tigerton School District food service manager. “To do something like this with equipment we don’t own and have a retired player here and the Packers truck and everything, it’s huge for the kids and, honestly, parents too.”

Tigerton encouraged people from throughout the community to get involved in the camp.

“This is huge for our little school,” Laatsch said. “We struggle because we’re such a small district, so most people would pick a bigger district. Having the camp come here shows that we don’t need to be a huge district to get these meaningful events here that make an impact on our kids.”

The camp is part of a bigger plan for the school to maximize the number of Play 60 events throughout the year.

In partnership with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Play 60, the school district receives a $500 grant each year for activity-related events and field trips related to dairy.

The youth camp is free to Play 60 members, so it didn’t require grant money, but it still included a dairy element with chocolate milk passed out to kids to finish the day.

“We just want to get kids outside, get them having fun,” Fencl said. “Whether or not they want to play football from this, it’s really just about getting them excited about being active with their friends.”