Archive for March, 2015

March 3 2015 – Istanbul Day Five – Darüşşafaka Schools

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

By Jordan Cameron

What’s up everyone?

What an amazing time I have had in Istanbul, Turkey on my second-year with AFWB International trip.  It has been a nice distraction as I head into my free agency campaign.

I have really enjoyed getting to know the Istanbul people, their culture, and helping them learn the game of football.

It was really cool to see how much passion the women have for the game.  On day 2 of our camp we had about 50 women – many who started the Turkey flag football leagues – attend our camp.  These women were really good and have created a nice foundation for future generations to come.  Also, they are breaking down many cultural walls that previously existed with women playing sports.  The Huffington Post wrote a nice article that sums up what we are doing here in Istanbul as well as how women playing sports is impacting the culture.  You can read the article here:

Also, here is a great picture of me getting photo bombed by one of the players:

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Today we had the opportunity to work with the children from Darüşşafaka Schools.   Kids that attend Darüşşafaka Schools have lost either one or both of their parents.  These kids were great and had a lot of natural talent.  The Darüşşafaka kids soccer team showed up too – many around twelve years old – and they were fast with great football moves.  It was the first time many of them had ever seen a football and at first they thought it was for juggling.  I quickly corrected them and taught them how to run pass patterns.  They caught on quick and loved just having catch.  It was a great experience for them as well as me.  I cannot imagine growing up without parents; however the joy these children had in their eyes truly was a great lesson in overcoming adversity.

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Camps are now over and it is off to sightseeing the last few days and then for me off to figure out where I will be playing next year.

Thanks for reading.


March 2 2015 – Istanbul Day Four – Special Olympics and US Marines

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

By DeAngelo Williams

Hey everyone it’s DeAngelo!  Hello from Istanbul, Turkey!  I am here with my former teammate Gary Barnidge helping out with his charity American Football without Barriers (AFWB).

Today was an amazing today for me.  We were able to serve kids in the Special Olympics as well as perform a surprise visits to the US Marines that guard our US Consulate.

Our day began with the Special Olympics and it was amazing to watch the Special Olympics Kids and Families really enjoy themselves during their drills.  Marshawn Lynch and I ran the kids through several ladder drills and the kids showed some impressive footwork.

Here is a picture of me with two of the campers:

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Also, here is a great picture of the campers we took at the end of the day.

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After the camp wrapped up we headed over to the Istanbul US Consulate to do a surprise visit and honor the US Marines that put their lives on the line everyday for us.  Here is a picture of us standing outside their house on the US Consulate grounds:

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We were able to shoot some pool with the guys, eat lunch, and just talk about everything that is going on their lives.  Every time I see a Service Person I think I am the one that should be thanking them versus them thanking us for coming.  They put their butts on the line everyday to make our country the best place to live.  It was great to meet them today.

Tomorrow should be another humbling experience as we are visiting a Turkish School where the children have either lost both parents and/or have only one parent living.  I love working with kids and I am glad I have been blessed with a platform that allows me to spread hope and inspiration to many of the kids I meet.

Make sure you connect with us with us social media to follow our travels as well as AFWB on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (afwbcamps).


March 1 2015 – Istanbul Day Three – Day Two of Camp – Men and Women

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

By:  Barkevious Mingo

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Wow!  Day 2 of our camp was a blast and I did not realize it was setting a statement for future generations to come.

We welcomed the under 19 men campers as well as approximately 50 Flag Football Women.  This was the first year we had a specific call for women to attend and they did not disappoint.  I discovered women team sports are relatively new in Turkey as they were previously frowned upon and women were not allowed to participate in sporting activities.  The women in attendance are truly pioneers in breaking down the walls in a cultural that made it difficult if not near impossible for women to play sports.

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Also, we had planned on having the men and women break apart for some drills and combine at the end.  We did not give any thought to the statement it would make to have men and women participating in drills together; however this would have been taboo in the past.  The amazing thing was that the men and women in attendance did not flinch when we had them perform drills together.  It was almost as if this was the norm in the Turkey culture.  After the fact we were told how this would have been unheard of until just recently.  I was really proud of all in attendance and the effort all gave.

Outside the camp it has been great to see my teammates from last season.  After the season breaks we tend to go in different directions until our pre-season starts.  AFWB gives us a great opportunity to bond outside the football field.

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Additionally, we get to meet great players from other teams and trade stories about our NFL experience.

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Thanks everyone for the opportunity to share my day today.