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  • Sincerely, Southern

Adrian Peterson hosts Summer Fitness Camp

By: Javon Huynh, Print Reporter

Adrian Peterson, a Georgia Southern alum and member of the College Football Hall of Fame, serves as Georgia Southern's director of student-athlete development. Outside of his duties at Georgia Southern, Peterson travels to neighboring counties over the summer to host a one-week fitness camp for kids encouraging them to be active.

Peterson has been the athletic director of development for 5 years now at Georgia Southern. "It's an honor to be back at GSU, a University that helped me grow as a young man. Now, I have the opportunity to help student athletes grow on and off the field,” said Peterson.

Each morning, Peterson sets up his training equipment for the children he will be instructing and serving that day. Each lesson he offers is intended to help kids understand why it is being taught to them.

Peterson engages the children by giving demonstrations of what he expects before each activity. Peterson said he doesn't believe it needs to be perfect because trying it is what counts.

Peterson gives a direct explanation of what they will be doing in case the child may be worried about failing the activity or isn’t sure of what they’re doing. Over the course of the camp week, the Waycross kids said they didn't experience much of this, rather the opposite. 

Peterson was glad to participate actively in his lessons with the kids. He said it helps put them at ease while executing the lessons. 

Even though they didn't know one another, the children actively assisted each other and showed solidarity through teamwork. This was the basis of Peterson’s camps’ connections and collaboration.

The kids work to become proficient at executing Peterson's drills, which he prepares for them each day. Without any complaints, the kids gave it their all, with most saying that their favorite lesson was the relay races at the conclusion of each camp session.

Peterson went into greater detail saying, "The purpose of the drills was to test the kids' willingness to serve as team leaders.” He also said he wanted the children to understand that college athletic scouts look for leadership along with their abilities.

Peterson's lessons focused mostly on scaling new heights. The Waycross children sought to surpass their previous day's results each day by trying to get higher and higher.  

Peterson said he makes sure to start each new drill with a stretch. He explained that stretching assists in improving the children's flexibility and awareness.

Tyshawn Wilson, an eighth grade student, pushes hard to lead his team to victory in a relay race. Peterson watched as Wilson celebrated enthusiastically for every member of his team, instilling confidence in them and showing leadership.

Peterson’s training camp helps many young people and college students find their way through life by mentoring, with the ultimate goal of encouraging everyone to strive to be the best version of themselves by means of fitness and faith. Peterson has been offering sport camps over the summer for over 20 years.

The shirts given out for the week-long training camp say "Hard work pays off." Peterson even came up with quotes to fit the motto “R: Remember who you are. U: Understand your why in the choices you make. and N: Never forget where you came from.”

The Magnolia House collaborated with the YMCA to organize this event in Waycross, Georgia. The Magnolia House works to provide a safe place for children in need in the Waycross community and surrounding counties.

Some of the children said they are ecstatic to have finished Peterson's training camp after an eventful week. Following the final session, Adrian gassed them up with food and goodbye gifts.

Every child who attended the camp received a personalized copy of Adrian Peterson's book. Peterson said this was a token of appreciation for turning up and stepping out.

In his book, "Don't Dis My Abilities," Peterson illustrates that, with enough effort, it is possible to realize one's dreams. Peterson’s purpose of providing the book to the children is to emphasize that lesson.

The kids asked Peterson to sign their shirts before he left. He signed each one with pleasure, which he does frequently at his training camp.

Peterson was able to teach lessons about building teamwork and friendships through this training camp. Ending with signed books and signed shirts the camp was seemingly a big success for the kids in Waycross, Georgia.

The camp in Waycross, Georgia, featured students from a total of four different schools who showed up to spend the week meeting and learning about different kids through exercise and activities taught by Peterson. Peterson will now travel to Effingham next week to continue his summer camp training.

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