2011-06-30 / Sports

Gerris Wilkinson Youth Football Camp trains over 200 young athletes


Gerris Wilkinson and his team of NFL players put campers through a series of drills and workouts patterned after their own professional training. Gerris Wilkinson and his team of NFL players put campers through a series of drills and workouts patterned after their own professional training. Termed a great success by the Washington- Wilkes Parks and Recreation Department, the Gerris Wilkinson Youth Football Camp held at Tiger Stadium last Saturday, June 25, saw over 200 local boys turn out for expert football instruction from a team of professional NFL players.

Led by New York Giant Gerris Wilkinson, the camp was divided into two sessions. The first, for younger athletes ages 8-12 was held from 9:30-11:30 a.m.; and the second, for ages 13-18, was held from noon-2:15 p.m.

Each camp began with warm-up exercises conducted by Tom Bender, trainer for the Atlanta Falcons and also trainer for Gerris Wilkinson. Many of the exercises were the same as those done by NFL players. There was also instruction in drills and fundamentals.

Other NFL players who assisted Wilkinson with the camp included Eric Henderson of the Cincinnati Bengals, James Butler of the St. Louis Rams, Arnold Harrison of the Cleveland Browns, and Leroy Hill of the Seattle Seahawks.


Gerris Wilkinson (left) and his father, former W-W Tiger Greg Wilkinson, welcomed campers to Tiger Stadium. Gerris Wilkinson (left) and his father, former W-W Tiger Greg Wilkinson, welcomed campers to Tiger Stadium. The players taught the camp participants the proper techniques for bag drills, box drills, ball drills, and shuttle drills – the same drills used by the NFL players in their own training.

At the end of the camp, each participant received a certificate, a Gerris Wilkinson Youth Football Camp T-shirt, a key chain provided by Ruffin Flag Company, a mini football provided by State Farm Insurance, and Powerade and Gatorade provided by Bi-Lo.

“We would like to that Greg Wilkinson, Zena Zahran, Frank Gaye, Jackie Davis, Tawana Binns, Brian George, Kip Burke, the WWCHS coaches, former Tigers, the Wilkes County EMS, and the Washington Police Department,” W-WPRD Director Pete Gartrell said following the camp.


Younger athletes drilled and practiced during the morning session for those under age 13. Younger athletes drilled and practiced during the morning session for those under age 13. Gartrell also offered special thanks to camp sponsors including Anthony Forest Products, Ruffin Flag Company, The News-Reporter, McDonald’s, New Saints C.M.E. Church, Fievet Pharmacy, Bi-Lo, Cuttin’-Up Barber and Beauty Shop, Farmers State Bank, Tena’s Jewelry and Gifts, The Fitzpatrick Hotel, The Washington Jockey Club, Beta Xi Zeta Delta Sorority, Coca Cola, and Head Coach Robby Robinson for the use of Tiger Stadium.

“We look forward to next year for the Gerris Wilkinson Youth Football Camp,” Gartrell added. “For all of those who would like to support the camp, please contact the Washington-Wilkes Parks and Recreation Department at 706-678- 1454. Once again, we appreciate your support.”



Running patterns and catching passes were part of the instruction kids received at the first Gerris Wilkinson Youth Football Camp. Running patterns and catching passes were part of the instruction kids received at the first Gerris Wilkinson Youth Football Camp.

W-W Tiger Head Coach Robby Robinson holds the stopwatch as a pair of attendees races to the finish of the 40-yard dash. W-W Tiger Head Coach Robby Robinson holds the stopwatch as a pair of attendees races to the finish of the 40-yard dash.

Warm-up exercises led by professional trainer Tom Bender prepared the campers to “get fired up for football.” Warm-up exercises led by professional trainer Tom Bender prepared the campers to “get fired up for football.”

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This is an amazing, most

This is an amazing, most wonderful thing that Gerris is doing to help the young athletes in Washington. It is precisely the kind of thing that should be happening. It is multi-racial, multi-aged and all segments of the community working TOGETHER to ensure a successful camp for the deserving children of this city/county. Thank you Gerris and Gregg and all the members of the NFL, community individuals and businesses who contributed their time, energy, money, effort to make this happen. I'm so proud of all of you - and especially Gerris and Gregg. Thanks for making this happen. Sincerely, Ann (Andrews) Cooper