Gay Returns Home for Annual Football Camp
By Christopher Bony
The fifth annual William Gay Football and Cheerleading Camp took place at Rickards High last Saturday morning. More than 300 young athletes from age 4 all the way up to high school varsity players attended the camp. Gay is well known in the Tallahassee community for giving back with his camp and advocating through several programs including a campaign to stop domestic violence.
Gay, who lost his mother to domestic violence, said he’s just trying to keep her voice alive by bringing his community together and doing as much as he can for them.
“It’s always been his passion and he has spent countless hours trying to help stop domestic violence,” said Gay’s agent, Jerrold Colton.
Gay, a Rickards graduate who now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, said this event is special for him.
“Every time I come back home I try to do something for my community,” he said. “When I was young I always loved seeing my role models on TV, but to be out here and have the kids see us in real life, talk to us, touch us, its big.”
Gay called upon his fellow NFL athletes to come to Tallahassee and help with his camp. Several athletes attended including Brandon Lafell of the New England Patriots and Kapri Bibbs of the Denver Broncos.
“These guys didn’t hesitate to give up their weekend to come help Will,” Colton said.
“This is my second year coming out here,” said Lafell. “Growing up I never had a chance to participate in a camp like this so now I have the opportunity to help Will put on this camp for his city.”
“I came to support a friend of mine, he’s a great guy,” said Greg Toler, the starting cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts. “We just want to let the kids know that we’re human just like they are and they can get to where we are now with hard work.”
Toler and Gay played together in 2012 for the Arizona Cardinals.
Many parents were out to help as well as bringing their kids to the camp. Chassade Stokes, one of the moms in attendance, said she loves to bring her son to the camp because he loves to run and she just likes to watch him and the other kids interact and have fun.
VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” star Erica Dixon came to support and help the cheerleaders at the camp.
“I just love kids, they’re so fun and so innocent,” Dixon said, “If you didn’t bring your kids this year, you most definitely should next year. You don’t want to miss it.”