EUGENE, Ore. -- The O Heroes program hosted a pair of community service events the last weekend in May, the Oregon Football Youth Camp and the annual Quackin’ Action. Over 500 children from the Eugene/Springfield area participated in the clinics put on by UO student-athletes and coaches.
The community service weekend kicked off Saturday in Autzen Stadium and the Moshofsky Center as University of Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly and over 50 volunteers from the football team held their youth camp.
“The kids of our community are an important part of the Duck family,” Kelly said. “It was a great opportunity for our staff and players to interact with them.”
The event was free to all participants and tailored to kids in grades 1-8. UO student-athletes worked as coaches, tutoring the children on the different positions in the game of football. Oregon quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli, Nate Costa and Darron Thomas ran the passing portion of the clinic. LeGarrette Blount and Ed Dickson assisted with additional offensive drills. Walter Thurmond III and T.J. Ward helped oversee some defensive drills for the youth.
In addition to position drills, a 100-yard touchdown run into the end zone at Autzen Stadium was organized. Children also attempted field goals as a part of the kicking station. The event concluded with the kids receiving a bottle of water compliments of the Duck Store, ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s and an autograph book for player signatures.
On Sunday in the Moshofsky Center, O Heroes held its annual Quackin’ Action community event. Approximately 250 kids from Springfield elementary schools (grades K-5) were invited to spend the day with UO student-athletes in an effort to learn “How to be a good Duck.”
The event featured five work stations: Sportsmanship, Teamwork, Fitness, Nutrition and Safety. The participating youth rotated through the stations, which were conducted by UO student-athletes.
Local fire fighters and police officers assisted in conducting the safety station. The fire department’s Dalmatian dog was a big hit with the kids.
“It was a great opportunity to serve as a role model in the community,” said junior track and field standout Andrew Wheating, who was one of 80 student-athletes to have participated. “It brought out the inner child in me. I had a lot of fun.”
Wheating was less than 24 hours removed from winning his second straight NCAA West Regional 800 meter title. Wheating and teammate Ashton Eaton were popular figures with the kids. Both could be found running impromptu races against boys and girls at the event.
In addition to rotating through the stations, the children were taught the UO fight song and served a complementary smoothie from Ben & Jerry’s.
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