February 27, 2014

A variety of interactive games, food, music, appearances by ASU cheerleaders and the Phoenix Suns Gorilla mascot and more than 120 volunteers including former Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton all helped create an exciting, rewarding day for more than 150 enthusiastic elementary-age children who attended Future for Kids’ (FFK) Winter Games Camp in Phoenix recently. 

The second annual FFK Winter Games Camp took place at Cesar Chavez Community School February 8, 2014. The school is one of several Phoenix-area locations that DPR Foundation-supported FFK serves year-round with its after-school mentor program. The camp is the brainchild of DPR Phoenix employees Tim Hyde and Ryan Young, who serve as chairs of FFK’s board of directors and junior board of directors, respectively. They worked in close cooperation with the FFK staff, their boards and numerous volunteers to deliver a day of inspiration, fitness and high-energy fun for at-risk youth in the Phoenix area.

Free for all children who pre-registered, the Winter Games camp supports FFK’s mission to provide local youth with education through mentorship and sports and fitness programs. Along with a number of sponsors, funding for the camp is derived primarily from the proceeds of a fantasy football league established by Young and the FFK junior board of directors. The league raised approximately $10,000 to host this year’s event.

Long hours of planning came together February 8 when the Winter Games Camp day finally arrived. The day officially kicked off at 8 a.m. as children were provided a healthy snack and enjoyed warm-up games at four parachutes accompanied by music from DJ Freshmaker. Zach Hall of the Arizona Diamondbacks, joined onstage by John Skelton, delivered a motivational address on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude in life. The children were then broken into groups by age and run through 10 different sports stations ranging from volleyball and football (run by former pro Skelton) to potato sack races, tug-of-war, an obstacle course and much more. Members from the FFK’s junior board of directors manned the various stations along with other volunteers.

The day concluded with races and lunch provided to the children. A special parent area set up on-site offered education and outreach, highlighted by a well-received drug awareness speaker.

DPR’s Hyde commented that the day was “just fantastic all the way around,” with standout highlights including the participation of John Skelton, the appearance of the Phoenix sun mascot and the ASU dance/cheer team and, most significantly, the buzz of excitement and positive energy generated from the children who participated. Hyde and Young were among seven DPR employees from the Phoenix office who devoted an estimated 50 hours for the camp and another 120 hours for the fantasy football league that funded it.

FFK Executive Director Madonna Bistany gave strong kudos to DPR for its longtime efforts helping the organization make a difference for needy children in the Phoenix area.

“DPR Construction’s dedication to the kids in our community through Future for Kids is tremendous,” she comments. “We love to share with the community that DPR understands the importance of community service by serving in the areas of leadership, volunteers and funding. Thank you for helping us help others!”

FFK is one of 15 youth organizations nationally awarded a total of $900,000 in grants by the DPR Foundation in December 2013. Over the past six years, the Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million to 22 different organizations focused on providing community support to grade school and high school-aged children.