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Darien and New Canaan youth football players enjoy New York Giants camp

Updated 2:44 pm, Thursday, July 26, 2012

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  • Christian Alliegro, 8, of Darien, participates in a relay race during the New York Giants football youth camp at St. Lukeís High School in New Canaan on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Photo: Amy Mortensen / Connecticut Post Freelance
    Christian Alliegro, 8, of Darien, participates in a relay race during the New York Giants football youth camp at St. Lukeís High School in New Canaan on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Photo: Amy Mortensen

 

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NEW CANAAN -- For the second time this summer, the New York Giants football camp came to St. Luke's High School in New Canaan, drawing youth players from both New Canaan and Darien, among several other towns.

According to Jeff Gilbert, one of the camp's directors, one of the main purposes of the camp is to allow participants to gain an early passion for football.

"The turnout is excellent; we have about three times as many kids as we did in Wallingford," said Gilbert of the 150 or so campers present on Wednesday. "Since they're still at a young age, we want to give them a taste of every position in football. One day we'll do stations of different positions on offense, and then we'll go around and do defense. They learn skills like fumble recoveries and things like that, and this morning we did a punt, pass and kick competition. So, they get a taste for all of football."

On Wednesday, the third day of the week-long camp, youth football players from New Canaan, Darien and several other towns got an opportunity to participate in scrimmages and drills.

"The best part is when we play the games," New Canaan's Peter Pennington, 8, said. "The Giants players who have come have signed my gloves and it's helping me get better."

One of the highlights for some of the campers was the opportunity to meet with and learn from past and present members of the New York Giants. On Tuesday, the players got a visit from from Curtis McGriff, a defensive tackle for the Giants from and a member of the 1980-87 Super Bowl team.

The camp is expecting at least one more New York Giant to attend on Thursday.

The overall friendly and positive environment led many campers to suggest that they would enjoy participating in similar camps in the future, including Darien's A.J. Arledge, a quarterback and cornerback who attended Giants' camp last summer.

"I did it last year and it was a lot of fun and I wanted to do it again," Arledge said. "It's great to here from the Giants players because you find out how they got there. It's helping me become a better football player, and I'm going to come here in the future."

According to Gilbert, when a youth player participates in summer football camps, he has a great opportunity to hone his football skills, as well as meet new friends on the gridiron.

"The number one thing is that the kids are having a good time," said Gilbert, who is in his second year with Giants' camps and is involved in his fourth Giants' camp this summer.

"At this age, these kids can soak up so much and it's the first football experience for a lot of them. So, at a camp like this, they can find their niche in football," Gilbert said.

The five-day camp wraps up today at St. Luke's High School.