It was hard to tell whether the kids or the Packers players were having a better time at this year's Packers Pals Party, held at the Bellin Health Performance Center on Oct. 17.
The room was filled with excitement as about 100 children were able to meet with players and play with them through a Packers' Youth Football Outreach Camp obstacle course. This year's featured Packers were Graham Harrell, Tori Gurley, MD Jennings and Brad Jones; they were accompanied by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Women's Basketball team, who were there to teach the kids about the sport.
"It just feels great to be able to give back," said Tori Gurley of the Green Bay Packers. "I remember when I was a kid, and I went to events like this, and was able to learn from college and professional athletes. It went a long way and now has put me in the position to give back."
The night included basketball drills with the UWGB women's team, the obstacle course with the players and a raffle with Packers merchandise. Additionally, children received printed pictures of themselves, which were being taken throughout the night, with the player's autographs on them.
The Green Bay Packers have participated for more than 10 years in the Packers Pals Party and feel grateful that they're able to contribute to their community's youth in such a personal way. The Pals program matches children from low-income, single-parent families with an adult mentor to spend a few hours weekly in a recreational or learning activity. Many of the children in this program have experienced abuse, neglect or domestic violence, or have a deceased parent or one with disabilities.
By the end of the evening, the players had children clinging to their legs and begging them to come back again soon.