Copeland Goes Beyond the Basics

Recently the Gilman campus hosted a football camp, led by Brandon Copeland ’09, that was unlike any other. The Jets linebacker, joined by other NFL players and volunteers, held a one-day event for more than 400 kids ages 11-17. While football drills were not neglected, the day included community service, emphasizing the importance of giving back to the community. Before stepping foot on the field, participants packed 750 toiletry kits and backpacks with school supplies to be shared with children in need through the Franciscan Center of Baltimore. 

The third annual Beyond the Basics Football Camp, while free, was reserved for students who excel in school. Brandon spoke with participants about the importance of having career options in addition to professional sports, telling them, “Anything can happen. It’s not a crime to also enjoy law, and literature, and design. You have more time in your life not playing football than you do actually playing. You need to find something to do with the rest of your life.”

Among the volunteers were six police officers, who were out of uniform. After a day of positive interaction with the kids, they revealed their profession, with the hope of building trust.

Laptop computers, tablets, and kindles were awarded to some participants who, in addition to B averages in school, displayed good character, leadership and athleticism during the camp.

To get a sense of the day, watch this video and see a photo gallery. NFL players are identified by yellow shirts, volunteers wear black shirts and youth participants wear white shirts.