Before the 2017 NFL season commences, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner returned home to the island of Oahu, Hawaii and brought the 49ers youth football crew along for the trip. Buckner held his first ever youth football camp in the community where his love of the game began, Waianae.
"It was really important for me to have this camp, especially on my side of the island where I grew up, because this side doesn't get enough exposure with the youth and the young athletes," Buckner said. "Growing up, I never had the chance to go to camps like this. I always had to travel. I just wanted to make it easier for the kids out here so they could come out and have a great time."
Buckner was joined by teammates Arik Armstead and Ronald Blair III for the inaugural camp. The DeForest Buckner Youth Football Camp hosted more than 250 children from surrounding communities, learning how to play the game of football through curriculum activated by 49ers director of youth football Jared Muela.
DeForest Buckner returned to his hometown of Waianae, HI., to host his first youth football camp.
"There's a real love for the game of football and just a sense of enthusiasm in Waianae. There's no pro baseball, no pro basketball, no pro football. There's definitely the University of Hawaii, but this is something different." Muela said. "They're big 49ers fans. So, for us to go out there and really show some love, it's really well received there."
The 49ers didn't stop there. As part of the 49ers "Hawaii Blitz" program, youth football partnered with the Mililani YMCA and USA football for camps and coaches clinics centered around player safety. The camps focused on basic non-contact football drills and spreading messages of work ethic and teamwork in a culture that continues to embrace the game of football.
"The intent of the 49ers Hawaii Blitz is to get out to markets that we can't traditionally visit during the season just because of proximity," Muela added. "We do a good job of going out to all the schools in our market and our community, but when we get to the offseason, we really have the time and the ability to get out and beyond."
Over the duration of the week, 49ers youth football impacted more than 400 kids across various communities. The hope is to continue to expand their reach in the years to come.
For more information on the 49ers youth football program, visit 49ers.com/community/youth-football