MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Combat Center children got the star treatment when Chicago Bear Charles Tillman and Dallas Cowboy Kareem Larrimore showed up to spend the week with them.
The players, along with several College Football League players and cheerleaders, ran a children’s football and cheer camp at Felix Field April 26-28, 2011.
“It’s all about the kids for me,” Larrimore said. “Wherever the kids go, I go. I just want to give what I have to them.”
The children’s days were filled with drills that strengthened their endurance, agility, strength and focus. The players also taught them techniques such as how to run, when to crouch and how to brace for impact, as well as how and when to go on the offensive. “It’s amazing they came out here,” said Andie Skillings, mother of a camp participant.
“The kids really look up to them, and they are learning a lot about teamwork, skills, and sportsmanship. Plus, we are Bears fans so we are pretty excited that Charles Tillman is out here.”
The players said they also hoped the three-day camp and their time together would encourage the kids to dream big.
“If a kid can see someone who has made it, it inspires them to stick with it and know they can do it, too,” Tillman said.
Larrimore echoed the sentiment.
“If they see that I started as a kid, it lets them know that they can make it,” he said.
During their stay, the players also toured the base and visited the Wounded Warriors and Marines and sailors in Camp Wilson. They even got a taste of the combat convoy simulator, where they defended their humvee from virtual terrorists.
“I’ve found a new respect for these guys,” Larrimore said, referring to Marines. “I really appreciate everything they do.”
Tillman said he grew up in a military family and being back on a base was refreshing.
“My dad spent 20 years in the military and my father-in-law did 30,” he said. “It brings back a lot of memories. It’s my first time being around so many Marines, it’s been great.”