Lions host second annual Football Skills Camp

Children from York Region at the York Region Lions football skills day

Lions were loose in Aurora on Sunday, April 8 as the York University Varsity Football team and the York Region Lions Football Association hosted their second Annual Football Skills Camp.

Children participating in the skills camp pose for a group photograph with York Lions football players and York Lions football coach Waren Craney (back row, far left). Photo courtesy of Snapd Aurora and Jodi Tavares

The free community event, which introduces participants to football, takes place every year prior to the beginning of the region’s football season.

Click here to view a slideshow of this event. Event images courtesy of Snapd Aurora.

Parents get a chance to learn about the York Region Lions Football Association programming and learn more about the partnership the club has with York University, while York University varsity football staff and players volunteer their time developing an interested in football with youth who may not otherwise have an opportunity to try out the sport.

For York University varsity football coach Warren Craney, it is the pure joy on children’s faces that make this event a highlight.

Warren Craney

“Great to see 120 boys girls learning the skills needed to play the greatest team sport there is. The smiles on their faces were priceless,” he said.

York Region Lions Registrar/Secretary Jodi Tavares was happy to see the community come together for this annual event, and noted all of the “little Lions.”

“This event highlights the great things that happen to benefit our communities when University varsity teams partner with local, community organizations,” she said.

Vince Hamilton, newly elected president of the York Region Lions Football Association, said the program is a great way to connect with the community.

“It’s important for our club to give back to our community, and events like these help us do just that,” he said.

Some of the York University Lions varsity football team players who volunteered to help coach the children participating in the skills camp. Photo courtesy Snapd Aurora and Jodi Tavares

Approximately 120 youth aged five to 12 worked with 15 York Region Lions coaches and York University Varsity football coaching staff and players for two hours, learning about proper warm up/stretching, throwing drills, footwork, conditioning, and of course, flag football tag.

It was a toss up for the kids on who they liked chasing in flag tag more – the Buffalo Mascot from Buffalo Wild Wing didn’t move as fast as the York University varsity football players that donned flag belts – but all in all it made for some hilarious football fun.

Each participant received a complimentary York University/York Region Lions red t-shirt, and there were free raffle prizes provided by generous event sponsors including York University, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sports Clips, Aurora Kids Dentistry and Recycled Joy Collective.