Summer camping: Carroll reaches out to kids

CARSON, Calif. — At one point during Coach Pete Carroll’s Win Forever kids football camp on Monday in southern California, the Seahawks coach could’ve been confused for a camper or counselor.

Anything but the head coach of an NFL franchise.

But that’s quite alright for the affable Carroll, who wore a bright smile and shades as he tossed touchdown passes to middle school football players on a sunny day at the Home Depot Center in the Los Angeles basin. Carroll’s unscripted quarterback session was just one part of a jam-packed day of activities during the first annual Win Forever Football Festival that attracted more than 500 campers and about 150 volunteer coaches.

The all-day camp that started in gloomy weather but ended under the warm southern California sun acted as a fusion of Carroll’s “Win Forever” message and his A Better LA foundation. The camp was free for all participants and served as a launching pad to promote and raise awareness for the values and ideals of both “Win Forever” and A Better LA, including a major push to bring peace to inner-city Los Angeles.

“This means a lot to me personally and to our group at A Better LA and Win Forever,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and we’re going to keep doing it and keep fighting.”

Throughout the camp — which included agility drills, football-specific practice sessions, competitive periods and celebrity guest speakers — Carroll pushed his “Always Compete” and “Win Forever” mantras, telling the campers and coaches alike that “we’re trying to maximize our potential so that we can be at our best.”

“That’s winning forever — striving to be the greatest you can be,” Carroll said. “You can’t ask for anything more than that.”

A star-studded list of celebrity coaches and speakers was in attendance, including Seahawks wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, Patriots wideout Wes Welker, Panthers center Ryan Kalil and college football legend Sam “Bam” Cunningham.

“I didn’t get an opportunity to do something like this as a kid, so I wanted to come out and support it now since it’s such a special thing Coach Carroll’s doing,” said Houshmandzadeh, who told the campers, “you’ll remember this day forever.”

Carroll’s hoping the campers will do something else forever, too.

“We want to see how far these kids and coaches can take this ‘win forever’ mindset,” Carroll said. “It’s a powerful thing.”

Check out some photos from the event below. A video recap from Tony Ventrella and the crew will be coming in the next few days.

Coach Pete Carroll encourages two high school defensive linemen through drills during Monday’s Win Forever Football Festival in Carson, Calif.

Acting as quarterback during drills, Coach Pete Carroll throws a ball downfield to a camper.

The Win Forever Football Festival gets started inside the Home Depot Center velodrome on Monday morning.

Campers and coaches at the Win Forever kids camp go through drills and competitions on the field at the Home Depot Center.

Coach Pete Carroll chats with former USC player Matt Leinart, now a quarterback with the Arizona Cardinals.

Seahawks wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh speaks to the campers at the Win Forever Football Festival on Monday.

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