Microsoft was recently honored to join the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW) and National Football League (NFL) players to host AthleTECH, a complimentary two-day football and technology camp for local Washington, D.C. youth. The camp consisted of a technology workshop at Microsoft’s Tyson’s Corner store and an outdoor field sports day at a local recreation center.

Several National NFL players, collegiate athletes and coaches as well as Microsoft volunteers hosted the camp, which helped local youth increase digital literacy and sportsmanship.  Players from teams such as the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons spent the weekend mentoring youth through a combination of technology skills sessions using Microsoft tools and fitness activities led by the athletes. The camp consisted of mini training sessions, a Moviemaker workshop, an Xbox bus, an obstacle course, plus three Xbox 360 Kinect gaming systems loaded with sports games.

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Michael Johnson from the Cincinnati Bengals and the BGCGW kids learning how to make a movie using Microsoft Movie Maker.

As part of Microsoft’s commitment to providing opportunities for youth, AthleTECH was created by employees in the Public Sector MACH (Microsoft Academy of College Hires) program, which is an accelerated career development program designed to recruit and hire top-performing graduates. MACH employees Anthony Egbuniwe, Tinsley Sumrell, Bijan Machen, Jason Johnson, and Bradley Way developed AthleTECH to give local youth the opportunity to play while receiving digital skills training to help prevent summer learning loss. Prior to the camp, local Washington, D.C. youth between the ages of seven and 12 were asked to submit an essay for the chance to win prizes during the two-day camp.  The essay challenged youth to think creatively and exercise critical thinking skills.

“The first time I formed a program similar to this I was a student athlete at Georgia Tech, and I immediately felt the programmatic impact for both players and youth participants.” Anthony Egbuniwe, Technical Account Manager at Microsoft continues, “Microsoft truly believes in building communities for a greater future, and with a fantastic team of MACH hires behind me we illustrated that with AthleTECH.”

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NFL players starting off the AthleTECH camp with a true team huddle.

Microsoft Vice President for U.S. Public Sector Services, Wes Anderson, participated in the event and encouraged the participants to work hard and believe in themselves. Anderson explained, “I was the first generation in my family to come to attend college and as a college athlete myself, it was great to be a part of an event like this that incorporated both sports and technology to encourage kids to achieve their goals. As a company, Microsoft recognizes the importance of giving back and we are honored to help support events like AthleTECH that empower youth here in D.C. and in communities around the world.”

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Two of the Boys & Girls Club participants at the Microsoft Store in Tysons Corner learned to make videos with the NFL players and had fun playing Kinect for Xbox 360.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington President and CEO Pandit F. Wright also participated in the event and applauded efforts like AthleTECH that help prevent summer learning loss.

“Learning loss can easily occur during the summer break in the academic routine. BGCGW recognizes that the educational process needs to be ongoing, and we are extremely appreciative to have the support of globally admired companies such as Microsoft who work proactively to ensure that our youth need not face that loss,” said Wright. “Rewarding our kids for writing skills in addition to sportsmanship and spirit on the field is a major step in encouraging the priority outcomes we want for the kids and teens we serve.”    

Photo Credits: Steven E. Purcell