This past weekend, the Snap sisters had their first experience at an NFL players’ youth football camp and it was fantastic. Even though our time on the field at Hormel Stadium in Medford, MA, was limited to taking pictures and observing football drills (one of us would have definitely been injured if we tried to play), we can’t say enough about Dominique Easley’s first annual Champs Camp.
Dominique Easley is a Patriots defensive tackle who was drafted by the team in 2014 as a first-round pick. Although you didn’t see much of him in the media over the last year, he and his sister, Destinee have been making the rounds with Boston media recently to promote his Champs Camp event and fibromyalgia awareness.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with fybromyalgia, it’s a disorder involving chronic widespread pain. Destinee Easley was diagnosed with it in 2011. There is no cure for the disease, but there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms.
With this in mind, Dominique created Easley’s Awareness to raise knowledge about fibromyalgia and funding for research.
This is where the Champs Camp comes into play. Not only was it a way for Dominique to give back to Boston youth through football, but a portion of proceeds went to fibromyalgia research. Double whammy.
The 6-hour camp was open to kids ages 6-17 and provided the opportunity of a lifetime to be coached by five outstanding Patriots players: DT Dominique Easley, LB Jerod Mayo, DE Chandler Jones, WR Aaron Dobson, and DE Zach Moore.
We hung out for the entirety of the event, met some awesome people, and took some phenomenal pictures.
Exhibit A: Dominique and his son with the campers.
Cue hearts melting everywhere.
One of the highlights of our day was chatting with Destinee Easley, Dominique’s 16-year-old sister and the motivation behind Easley’s Awareness.
One of the first things you notice about Destinee is her smile – she’s got a great one. From her cheerful disposition, you would never know the challenges she’s had to face as a result of her fibromyalgia diagnosis.
When I asked Destinee what she wished people knew about the disease, her response was that fibromyalgia is an invisible pain. Just because you can’t see the pain, doesn’t mean it’s not there. She credits God, her family, and music for helping her get through the tough days. She’s got big plans for her future, as she’s hoping to study film and television at USC.
(Michelle also wants to point out that Destinee shares her love for large hoop earrings, so clearly her fashion sense is on point as well.)
In short, Destinee Easley is awesome.
Destinee’s mother, Erica, was also an absolute pleasure to meet. When talking to her, it was easy to tell how proud she is of her children. She came over to us several times throughout the day to ask if we were enjoying ourselves and by the time the camp came to an end, I was ready to hug her goodbye.
One of the best things about this experience was how accessible the players were.
Exhibit B: Somewhere under this pile of children is Chandler Jones. (Clearly they did not know about his off-season hip surgery.)
When they weren’t coaching the camp participants, the players were signing autographs and taking pictures. I didn’t see them turn one person down, which made a lot of kids (and their parents) very happy.
Speaking of pictures, we got a great one with Pats defensive end Zach Moore. Super nice guy and also super tall, as you can see below.
We also have to say that campers got their moneys worth with Jerod Mayo. That man needs to be a coach as soon as he retires from the NFL. His enthusiasm for leading the campers through drills was contagious. We were ready to run onto the field and practice fumble recoveries just so that we could get a Mayo high-five.
In addition to a day full of drills and player interaction, participants were given t-shirts, lunch and a goodie bag from sponsor Modell’s. Coaches from Medford High School and players from the Somerville Rampage semi-pro football team also made the event a success by volunteering their time.
The other thing that really impressed us was when we found out that Dominique and his event organizers reached out to the community to invite kids with special needs. Taking the extra step to include kids who may not have thought participation was an option says something about Dominique’s character.
We’d like to thank Dominique Easley, his family, and his Brand Architects team for letting us come spend the day with them! For more information on Easley’s Awareness, be sure to check out their website and Facebook page.
– Michelle and Val