In a crowd of kids in blue T-shirts, all with the name “Vereen” printed on the back, Valencia High graduate and NFL running back Shane Vereen was doing pushups.
It was the result of a quarterback drill gone slightly awry.
“I was doing a competition with the kids, and if I made it in the trash can before one of them did, then they had to do 10 pushups,” Vereen said. “If they made it in before I did, then I had to do 10 pushups, and I lost twice, unfortunately.”
That was just one of the ways Vereen, who plays for the New York Giants, got involved with campers at the fourth annual Vereen Playmakers Football Camp at Valencia High School on Sunday.
The camp had a turnout of 115 boys and girls age 6 to 13, in addition to an estimated 40 alumni volunteers, the entire Vikings varsity football team, and 15 additional booster club volunteers.
“I remember when I was that age and going to a camp and looking up at high school football players, let alone an NFL or college player,” Vereen said. “So to have all four levels out here today, it goes into it and I think that’s why kids keep coming back and why we always have a good time.”
Valencia football product Tedric Thompson, who was recently drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, was also in attendance. Former NFL safety and Vikings alum Brock Vereen was there, along with UCLA alumnus and Giants running back Paul Perkins.
“(Being at Valencia) brings back a lot of memories,” Thompson said. “When I walked up here and I stepped on the track, I just thought about all the stuff I did and all those drills I did, all the wins and losses we had on this field.”
All proceeds of the camp, which included money from camp fees, the silent auction, raffle and additional donations, benefited Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Vereen chose Children’s Hospital because of his relationship with David Stroud, a former Valencia athlete who died in 2011 of liver failure at age 19. Stroud was the Vereens’ next-door neighbor growing up.
“This is the fourth camp now and it’s always great to give back to the community and also in the greater scheme, give back to Children’s Hospital,” said Brock. “Let the kids come out, run around, have fun and everybody wins.”
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The camp began with warm-ups, followed by position drills. Seven-on-seven competitions then took over the field and after that, a relay race between Shane Vereen and Thompson.
Football equipment was passed down a row of campers to the NFL-ers, who dressed, had to throw a football into a trashcan and kick a field goal in succession.
Thompson was the victor.
The day concluded with a massive inflatable waterslide for the campers.
“I’ve been trying to get a waterslide for four years now,” Vereen said.
“Even though the heat kind of beat us down, I think we still had a great turnout,” he continued. “I had a great time, I think the kids had a great time. We got the water slide going at the end. All in all, it was a great day. I’m happy to be able to do it.”