Rams rookie class visits JCC day camp

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Mardy Gilyard gives Jewish Community Center day campers high fives.

By David Baugher, Special to the Jewish Light

Hundreds of Jewish Community Center day campers and more than two dozen St. Louis Rams chose to brave the sweltering summer heat Tuesday afternoon as part of a nationwide effort to promote more active lifestyles for American youth.

“This is the first time we’ve done this with the Rams,” said Rabbi Brad Horwitz, director of the JCC’s Helene Mirowitz Department of Jewish Community Life. “It’s part of their outreach into the community. It’s great to have these kids look up to these professional sports athletes, interact with them and have a chance to have a fun activity at camp.”

The event, which featured a visit by 25 rookie Rams players and music by 1260AM Radio Disney, was part of the “Play 60” program, a wide-ranging initiative launched by professional football to help combat the growing problem of juvenile obesity by encouraging youngsters to engage in physical activity for at least one hour each day.

“It’s an effort by the entire National Football League to get kids to lead more active lives, the theory being that if all kids got 60 minutes of exercise per day, it would be a boost to the fight against childhood obesity,” said Craig Neuman, the JCC’s director of programming. “Obviously, that aligns with our core principles at day camp so we saw this as an outstanding partnership to be able to promote both.”

Neuman said participants had the chance to try their hand at a variety of activity stations set up across the JCC’s ballfields from three-legged races to a football toss to an obstacle course – each of them manned by a pro player. About 250-300 elementary and middle schoolers from JCC camps participated in the day’s events.

Look for more on this story in the June 30 print edition of the Jewish Light.