Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Youth Weekend
Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Youth Weekend took place August 1 and 2. Activities were open to children ages 17 and under and held one hour before each open practice. Activities included: daily autograph sessions with Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, "Look Like A Pro" where children had the chance to try on authentic Falcons equipment, "Show Your Spirit" allowed young fans wearing a football jersey or cheerleading uniform a chance to receive a mini-football or pom-pom, "Focus with the Falcons" offered young fans a chance to guess the number of key chains in a large vase and win great prizes for the closest guess, "Hats Off" allowed young fans the chance to win team autographed authentic helmets and "Jersey Frenzy" allowed young fans a chance to win autographed jerseys.
Falcons First Down for Fitness
The Falcons First Down for Fitness program ran September 1 through October 30. The program, in its fourth year, is designed to challenge students in grades three through seven to participate in physical fitness activities and lead a healthy lifestyle. In collaboration with the American Heart Association, the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association and the NFL's "Play 60" campaign, this incentive-based program rewards participants for being active at least 60 minutes a day, three days a week for two months. Nearly 33,000 students and 160 teachers across the state participated in the program.
Incentives included: visits by players and cheerleaders, tickets to Atlanta Falcons home games, the opportunity to participate in the Falcons Fitness Flag Crew during a home game and great Falcons memorabilia. Additionally, each student received a personalized certificate of completion signed by Head Coach Mike Smith and Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins. New 2009, eleven MVP's were selected and given the opportunity to participate in pre-game ceremonies during the Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game Sunday, November 29.
Countless fans on lunch breaks and children in gym class got quite the surprise on Tuesday, October 6th. The entire Falcons roster and several Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders made surprise appearances at eight different locations around downtown and the metro Atlanta area. Four stops included United Way-affiliated schools where the players and cheerleaders delivered new sports equipment and promoted physical fitness as part of the NFL's "Play 60" initiative. The remaining four stops were visits to public venues around the city which included the Georgia Aquarium, Publix, Home Depot and Park Springs Retirement Community.
This marked the 11th year of the NFL and United Way's partnership/celebration of Hometown Huddle.
Dazzle and Dine
The Dazzle and Dine event took place Tuesday, October 13 and honored breast cancer survivors Jill Binkley, Courtney Bugler, Ann Hook and Martha Lanier. Nichole Hancock, a local breast cancer activist, was also honored. All of the ladies were treated with a day of pampering and an evening of fine dining with Atlanta Falcons players. The afternoon began with a new hairstyle and make-up application provided by Jamison Shaw Hairdressers. Each honoree was also given a gift bag filled with beauty products. Ace of Hearts Limousine Services transported the group to The Capitol Grille where their invited guest joined them for dinner with Atlanta Falcons players Erik Coleman (Sabrina), Brian Finneran, Tony Gilbert (Tiffany) and Verron Haynes. Additionally, each honoree received a basket filled with gift certificates from The Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, Lake Lanier Islands Resort and Conference Center, Bullfrogs Bar and Grille, Blue MedSpa and The Inn at Serenbe. Furthermore, Sephora Cosmetics donated additional beauty products to each guest of honor. Falcons fullback Verron Haynes addressed the group and saluted each honoree for their dedication to the cause and courage to continue fighting.
Falcons Football Academy
The Falcons Football Academy is a workshop/clinic designed to teach novice fans the "X's and O's" of NFL football through demonstration. The Falcons Football Academy, held at the Georgia Dome, was led by a cast of football alumni greats and current players such as linebacker Mike Peterson and wide receiver Brian Finneran, to name a few. Participants enjoyed an in depth "chalk talk" regarding offense and defense as well as participated in skill stations. $7,500 was raised from the event and benefited the Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center at Piedmont Hospital.
Community Quarterback Award
The Atlanta Falcons Community Quarterback Award honors volunteers in Georgia (ages 13 and over) who exemplify leadership and dedication to bettering their communities. Many organizations rely on quality volunteers to create and facilitate programs that benefit many lives throughout the State of Georgia. The Community Quarterback Award is designed to recognize and reward these volunteers.
The winners were Regina Faye Butts (Hancock County Family Connection), Narva Farris (Carroll County Branch NAACP Re-Entry Services), Denise Wheeler (The Reece Center for Handicapped Horsemanship) and Rayonta Whitfield (Georgia Amateur Boxing Association). They were honored during pre-game ceremonies of the Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles game Sunday, December 6. Each winner received an Atlanta Falcons Community Quarterback Award jacket, a commemorative football and personalized jersey. Additionally, a $2,000 grant was awarded to the non-profit organization each winner serves.
FalCan Food Drive
As a standing tradition, each year the Atlanta Falcons partner with the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) for the annual FalCan Food Drive. This year, the Falcons extended its partnership and teamed up with Publix in a continued effort to help fight hunger. Prior to the Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins game Sunday, November 8, with volunteer support from ACFB and the Atlanta Falcons Women's Association, 4,262 pounds of food and $6,039.09 was collected. In addition, food and monetary contributions were also collected at three Publix locations prior to the game day drive as Falcons players were on hand to sign autographs for fans who made contributions.
Toys for Tots
Another standing tradition, fans supported the Atlanta Falcons Toys for Tots drive prior to the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints game Sunday, December 13 in record fashion. With donations of over 2,000 toys and more than $24,000, an amount that surpassed the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, together the Atlanta Falcons, O'Reilly Auto Parts and the U.S. Marine Corps were able to provided deserving families with special toys during the holiday season.
Falcons Fitness Flag Crew
During each Atlanta Falcons home game, 60 participants were selected to assist in unfurling an oversized 40 yard by 40 yard Falcons flag as a part of the Falcons game day experience right before kickoff. These participants are made up of schools, military bases, youth football teams and civic/non-profit organizations. The Falcons Fitness Flag Crew experience provided each individual with a t-shirt, ticket to the game and the opportunity to partake in pre-game aerobic warm-ups led by members of the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, an on-field rehearsal, lunch and the opportunity to visit Falcons Landing. By the conclusion of each experience, participants logged nearly two miles of walking.
Participants were as follows: Arthur M. Blank Family Youth YMCA, Rockdale Youth Football Association, Fort Gordon, CrossRoads Academy, various breast cancer awareness organizations, Fort Gordon Wounded Warriors and VA Medical Center, White County Intermediate School, Fort Benning, Atlanta Youth Fitness Alliance and the United States Marine Corps.
Falcons Gatorade Junior Training Camps
The Atlanta Falcons conducted Falcons Gatorade Junior Training Camps in schools and parks across Georgia with a special emphasis on introducing youth to the fundamentals of footballs through basic drills as well as expose them to hydration maintenance. 30 camps were conducted across the state and an estimated 3,500 children had the opportunity to participate. These camps reached areas of the state including metro Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Athens and Elberton.
Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders
Everyone knows that the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders perform at each home game, but what most may not know is that throughout the year the cheerleaders appeared at over 250 community events across the state of Georgia. These events included speaking engagements to promote physical fitness and education, stops at hospitals, schools, homeless shelters and even military bases to name a few. Additionally, proceeds from the 2009 Meet and Greet benefited the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.
Atlanta Falcons Junior Cheerleaders
Young ladies ages 5-16 had the opportunity to cheer for their home team by participating in the Atlanta Falcons Junior Cheerleaders Program. There were no tryouts required to participate and all skill levels were accepted. Nearly 300 young girls performed in front of tens of thousands of fans during halftime of the Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins game November 8. Participants also helped support Rally 4 Quarters 4 Research, which is a change collection program in which all the proceeds directly benefit childhood cancer research. The young ladies collected nearly $900 that helped support the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.
Participants of the program received a game day uniform, pom poms, practice t-shirt, three instructional clinics taught by the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders and a tailgate party on performance day.
Atlanta Falcons Women's Association
This season was filled with several events and volunteer opportunities for the Atlanta Falcons Women's Association. The annual luncheon, held at Chateau Élan, featured the latest fall fashion trends provided by Macy's Department Stores. Over the course of the season members had major roles in the following initiatives: Falcons Football Academy, FalCan Food Drive, Toys for Tots Drive and the annual t-shirt and pillowcase paint at The Child Life Zone at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
The Atlanta Falcons players made over 700 community appearances around the state of Georgia during the year. A few of the most unforgettable visits include a fishing excursion off of Lake Lanier Islands with Purple Heart recipients and military veterans, a Black Hawk helicopter ride to Fort Benning Army Base to thank the military for their service, the offensive line treated 40 children from the Atlanta Union Mission to a holiday shopping spree at a local Wal-Mart and players distributed holiday gifts to patients at the Shepherd Spinal Center. Additional visits throughout the community included: local schools, Atlanta area hospitals, homeless shelters and libraries.
Atlanta Falcons Rookie Club sponsored by UnitedHealthcare of Georgia
The Atlanta Falcons Rookie Club is designed to specifically expose and immerse the rookie class into the metro Atlanta community and involve them in different community activities. Throughout the season, the Atlanta Falcons Rookie Club served a special Thanksgiving meal to the homeless, hosted a football camp for special education students, fished with children from the Eagle Ranch children's home and hosted a holiday shopping spree for underprivileged children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta and Minds in Motion Inc.
Throughout the year, the Community Relations Department donated autographed items in support of charity events/programs/activities to official 501(c)3 non-profit organizations and schools within the state of Georgia. Beneficiaries must support youth and/or focus on health, arts, physical fitness and/or education. In 2009, local organizations were able to raise nearly $36,000.
USA Football Partnership
In January, the Atlanta Falcons partnered with USA Football to conduct its annual State Leadership Forum at Mill Creek High School. The forum brought youth football league presidents and commissioners together from across the state to share best-practices and discuss ways to improve the Atlanta region's youth football programs. Topics included: coaching education, health and safety, participation rates, fundraising and age/weight standards.
In April, the Falcons and USA Football hosted its annual Coaching School at Westlake High School. The one-day coaching clinic, led by top local high school and youth football coaches, educated participants on teaching the fundamentals of every position, organizing a season with practice planning and developing better offensive, defensive and special teams schemes. Falcons Tight Ends Coach Chris Scelfo served as keynote speaker.
In June, the Falcons and USA Football hosted its inaugural Officiating School at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, GA. The comprehensive clinic allowed local officials to receive advice from NFL and Division I officials, review film of unique plays from the 2008 high school and college season and discuss mechanics, philosophy and rules applications for all levels of officiating.
In July, the Falcons and USA Football hosted its inaugural Player Academy at Lassister High School in Marietta, GA. The camp taught football fundamentals and good football habits with age-specific instruction and guidance for 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 year old players. These academies are designed for players interested in improving their football skills and becoming the best they can be at their respective positions.
NFL Youth Football Fund Matching Grant
The Atlanta Falcons and the NFL's Youth Football Fund recently awarded equipment grants to nine local youth football organizations that were devastated by flooding in the metro Atlanta area. As a leader in the community and a strong supporter of youth football initiatives, the Atlanta Falcons, through the NFL's Youth Football Fund Matching Grant program, were able to provide approximately $16,800 to support these organizations.
Each organization bought equipment to replace several pieces that were damaged during the floods. Items such as helmets, tackling dummies, sleds and shoulder pads were purchased.
Salute to High School Football Luncheon
The second annual Salute to High School Football Luncheon took place Saturday, December 12 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski gave the keynote address, along with remarks from Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and President Rich McKay. Additionally, the event featured a special presentation to Head Coach Jeremy Williams from Greenville High School. The Atlanta Falcons Divisional Coach of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Winner were announced. Each winner received a crystal trophy along with two round-trip tickets, courtesy of Air Tran Airways. They are as follows:
1A-Franklin Pridgen // Wesleyan School * 2A-Robby Pruitt // Fitzgerald High School * 3A-Paul Standard // St. Pius X Catholic High School * 4A-Steve Devoursney // Griffin High School * 5A- Chip Lindsey // Lassiter High School * Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Billy Henderson // Clarke Central High School
Additional prizes were awarded to those in attendance. They are as follows:
The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation gave away (5) $500 equipment grants to:
1A- DeMarco Thompson // Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy * 2A- Jeff Shiflett // Pepperell High School * 3A- Eric Parker // Burke County High School * 4A- Michael Etheridge // Rockdale County High School * 5A- Nick Collins // Newton High School
The Atlanta Falcons gave away (3) autographed jerseys to:
Ed Gosa // Banneker High School—Michael Turner jersey * Jason Galt // Dutchtown High School—Matt Ryan jersey * Chad Frazier // Heritage High School (Conyers)—Tony Gonzalez jersey
hhgregg gave away (4) 42" LG Flat Screen TV's to:
Billy Kirk // Jackson County High School * John Small // South Gwinnett High School * Jamie Baldwin // Johnson High School (Savannah) * Jeff Measor // Centennial High School
Finally, Russell Athletic gave each coach a tote bag with a polo shirt and Air Tran Airways provided a discounted flight voucher to each attending head coach.
Captain in the Community
The Captain in the Community program recognized outstanding varsity high school football student-athletes around the state of Georgia that demonstrated strong leadership skills both on and off the field. The program encouraged these student-athletes to continue to be leaders in their communities.
During the 2009 high school football season, the Falcons honored 10 varsity football student-athletes who excelled on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The winners were selected by members of the USA Football staff. In order to be considered a Falcons Captain in the Community, the student-athlete had to meet the following criteria:
3.0 or higher grade point average * Voluntary community service record (i.e. camp instructor, participation in school food drive/toys for tots program, mission trips, visits to nursing homes/hospitals, involvement with Boys & Girls Club/YMCA programs or other service projects.)
Winners received a signed football by their favorite Falcons player or Coach and two tickets to the Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills game Sunday, December 27. In addition, all Captains in the Community were listed on atlantafalcons.com/community and in a 2009 Atlanta Falcons Game Day program and their school received a $1,000 grant in the student-athlete's name to support future community initiatives. All high school varsity football student-athletes in the state of Georgia were eligible for the Captain in the Community award.
The 2009 winners:
Connor Shaw, QB // Flowery Branch High School * Henry Anderson, DE // Woodward Academy * Christian Conley, WR/S // North Paulding High School * D. David Davis, OL/LB // Greater Atlanta Christian School * Nick Orangio, QB/WR // Mill Creek High School * Dalton Clark, OT // South Paulding High School * Desdan Hester, LB // McNair High School * Scott Chewning, QB // Chestatee High School * Caleb Watkins, DB/RB // Martin Luther King High School * Dylan Leonard, OT // Ola High School
Coach of the Week
Every year the Atlanta Falcons honor high school football coaches through the NFL's Coach of the Week program. Coach of the Week recognizes high school coaches who, through their hard work and dedication to young people, have made a difference in the lives of their players, community and school as well as provides high schools with financial assistance to help maintain and upgrade their football programs.
Each week of the season, the winner received a plaque signed by Head Coach Mike Smith and a $1,000 grant from the NFL's Youth Football Fund to his school's athletic department.
The 2009 winners:
Mike Carson // Avondale High School * Leroy Ryals // Clark Central High School * Phillip Ironside // Hillgrove High School * Ronnie Millen // Grady High School * James Baldwin // Johnson High School * Jeffrey Battles // Hardaway High School * Jamie Aull // Mount Zion High School * John Small // South Gwinnett High School * Adam Winegarden // Dalton High School * Jonathan Sanks // Towers High School * Jeremy Williams // Greenville High School * Rush Propst // Colquitt County High School
Youth Team and Cheer Squad of the Week
This first year program recognized youth football teams and cheer squads throughout the state of Georgia. One team was selected weekly beginning early September through mid-November.
In addition to being recognized on atlantafalcons.com/community, each of the 10 selected teams received recognition in a 2009 Atlanta Falcons Game Day Program, team of the week/cheer squad of the week t-shirts and received a grant in the amount of $500 to support their organization.
The 2009 Youth Team of the Week winners:
Jackson Youth Association Falcons 14U, East Point, GA * Fighting Irish 6U, Macon, GA * East Metro Titans 95lb Blue, Conyers, GA * Duluth Wildcats 2nd Grade Team, Duluth, GA * Sandtown Vikings 8U, Atlanta, GA * Chattahoochee County Little Panthers 10U, Chattahoochee County, GA * Mt. Carmel Rams 7U, Douglasville, GA * Woodville Wolverines 12U, Savannah, GA * Glenwood Hills Panthers 10U Gold, Decatur, GA * Locust Grove Pony Falcons 9U, Locust Grove, GA
The 2009 Cheer Squad of the Week winners:
Martin Luther King Freedom Riders 14U, Atlanta, GA * Brookwood Football Association North 12 year olds, Lawrenceville, GA * Mt. Camel Rams 7U, Douglasville, GA * Rock Chapel Cheerleaders 8U, Lithonia, GA * Gresham Park Rattlers age 13U, Atlanta, GA * South Gwinnett Athletic Association 8th Grade Cheerleaders, Snellville, GA * Mountain Park Panthers 6th Grade Squad, Lilburn, GA * Forest Park Vikings 10U, Forest Park, GA * Panhandle Gamecocks Black 8U, Lovejoy, GA * New Rock Redskins 12U, Newton, GA