Seahawks Michael Bennett hosts free football camp and health expo

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Michael Bennett
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Michael Bennett /

Seahawks star Michael Bennett clearly doesn’t understand the concept of a vacation. Just look at what he’s doing now

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett stays in the news no matter the time of year. In fact, he probably makes more headlines in the offseason than in December. As is the rule for the Seahawks, Bennett is in the news for all the positive things he does for communities.

Of course, he’s at it again.

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Bennett hosts free football camp for youth in Hawaii

We’ve mentioned Bennett’s O.C.E.A.N. program before. Before we get to the football camp, let’s take a deeper look into what the Bennett Foundation’s primary program does. O.C.E.A.N. fights obesity through a multi-faceted approach. From the foundation’s website:

"The Bennett Foundation is all about empowering families to have healthy lifestyles, which they do in part through Education. “The goal of this foundation is to change people’s thought process, about healthy shopping, affordability, accessibility, sustainability–all those things,” says Michael. “We go out and we do these programs, teach people, and give people choices.”Some of the educational opportunities The Bennett Foundation has created or been a part of are: O.C.E.A.N. Health Fest, Seattle Tilth Rainer Beach High School Cooking Club, The Hope Heart Institute Family Health and Fitness Night, and cooking demonstrations at Kapalama Elementary, Waialua Elementary, and Saint Louis School in Hawaii."

Suggested activities go beyond fitness programs, too. Families are encouraged to get outside and play together, work in the garden, or simply go for a family walk.

So, about that football camp

Almost 800 people attended the free camp this past Sunday, many of those the target audience, kids from 13 to 18 years old. Five other NFL players attended as well, including Bennett’s new Seahawks teammate, Nazair Jones. Jones had this to say of Bennett:

"“He’s just a great teacher,” Jones said. “He has made me so much better only working with me for a little bit. It’s small things, he’s super detailed. That’s starting to rub off on me. I’m trying to reach the stages he has reached, so if he’s looking at stuff that detailed, then I need to look at stuff that detailed. He’s a great teacher, I’m just trying to pick his brain and learn everything I can, whether that’s on the field or off the field.”"

There was more than football on the field, though. Bennett’s foundation also hosted a health expo which included vision screenings, CPR training, and presentations from the Hawaii Public Health Institute and the American Cancer Society. Did we mention this was all free? As Bennett said:

"“When I was a kid, I always wanted to go to some of these camps, but they were expensive, my parents couldn’t afford them,” Bennett said. “So I always said that when I got in a place to be able to have camps, I would make sure they were free.“When you’re a young kid, you want to be able to touch your heroes, and when you’re in the position we are in, we’ve got to be able to be in contact with the youth to inspire them every day… To be able to share our experiences with them and them to be able to share their experiences with us, it means everything to us and it means everything to them.”"

So much more than just football

A football camp, a health expo, and a life-changing moment for many. When this young camper was overcome by the emotion of winning a raffle, Bennett stepped in with a hug and these words: “It takes a strong man to be emotional.”

I think it best to close with a few of Bennett’s own observations on the day:

"“You’ve to learn how to finish, you’ve got to have determination,” Bennett said. “If you don’t have those two things, it isn’t going to happen for you. If you can’t finish, you’re normal, that’s just the facts… This man (Jones) couldn’t walk when he was 16. How many of y’all would have given up? This man (Harold) lost his mom when he was 15, how many people would have given up?“Greatness is a mindset of never being denied. Never being denied what you want. You’ve got to obsess about what you want. If you really want to go to college and play football, then every day when you wake up, you’ve got to think about how you’re going to get better as a player. If you’re failing math, you’ve got to get up every day and study. That’s the only way you’re going to be different.”"