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July 2013

July 2013

Unqualified Success

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The Leadership Program of the NFL High School Player Development program presented by the National Guard has set new standards for grooming the
leaders of tomorrow.

When the NFL High School Player Development program presented by the National Guard introduced its new Leadership Program, the goal was simple – to develop leadership qualities of high school football players who have already demonstrated leadership potential in the classroom and on the field. Combining an advanced character development session with a community service activity and a team-building National Guard Leadership Reaction Course, the one-day Leadership Program events give high school athletes an experience designed to inspire them to become leaders.

The three pilot programs that were conducted in 2012 gave the HSPD team the opportunity to fine-tune the Leadership Program’s structure for expansion into new markets this year. This year’s Leadership Program has indeed grown, and events have been conducted in cities including New York, Miami, Houston, and Cleveland, among others, with more scheduled. The verdict of the participants, the community service organizations that have benefitted, and the NFL Ambassadors that conduct the character development sessions is unanimous – the HSPD Leadership Program is a success on every level.

Seventeen-year NFL veteran wide receiver Irving Fryar is one of the former players that presented the character development portion of the Leadership Program and shared his personal experiences about life in and out of football. The presentation focuses on the importance of a strong education, rather than football, as the foundation for a solid career path and the pitfalls of social media web sites. “Helping young people understand that the quality of their character is what will help them to sustain any level of success that they achieve is of the utmost importance for their development as a human being,” said Fryar.

Former NFL tight end Tony Stewart, who participated in two programs in Ohio, agrees that character development is central to the mission of the Leadership Program. “I enjoy working with the NFL HSPD Leadership Program because of the impact the presentation makes on the student-athletes. I am honored to share my life experiences to engage and empower tomorrow’s leaders off the field.”

James Thrash has the same commitment to building leaders that he had to catching passes as a standout wide receiver for the Redskins and the Eagles. “As a father of two sons, I realize how important it is to speak with them about leadership, character, and success. Although, talking about it is not enough,” he said. “We have to be an example through our actions. I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak at the NFL HSPD Leadership Program and share with these young men what I share with my own sons.”

Matt Stover, who retired after the 2009 season as the 5th leading scorer in NFL history, is a strong believer in giving back to the game. “As a retired NFL player, I hope to positively impact the next generation of athletes,” he said. “The NFL HSPD Leadership Program provides a positive influence and is making a difference in the lives of these young men. Character, integrity, education, and personal and social responsibility are the foundations of success.”

From the NFL Ambassadors teaching student-athletes about success in life beyond football, to the rewards of participating in a service activity that benefits a community organization, to the exciting team-building of the National Guard’s Leadership Reaction Course, the High School Player Development Leadership Program is a positive experience that leaves a lasting impression on all attendees.


Community Service – Packed backpack buddies food bags to be distributed to nearly 6,000 local elementary school students at the Houston Food Bank.

“The best part was the Leadership Reaction Course, because it showed you how to work as a team.”
– Houston Leadership Program Attendee


Community Service –Made bags of food for distribution as well as served hot food and made meal packets
for distribution at the Cleveland Food Bank.

“The social media aspect was really moving because it made you realize that anyone can see what you post.”
– Cleveland Leadership Program Attendee


Community Service –Restoration, painting, mulching, and planting at a local park.

“The best part was seeing the power we have to make an impact in our community.”
– Miami Leadership Program Attendee

New York

Community Service –Partnered up with special needs students from the Rebecca School to go through various stations – shooting/dribbling basketballs, pedal car relay, games with throwing balls into a basket and transferring marbles via small tubes.

 “Set goals for yourself and follow your dreams. The decisions you make may affect your life.”
– New York Leadership Program Attendee


Community Service –Park clean-up project.

“Think about something before you act upon it, like social media. Be careful what you do.”
- Iowa Leadership Program Attendee

Southern Ohio

Community Service –Painted a building at the local Red Cross and wrote post cards to deployed troops.

“The obstacle course and jousting were fun. Also spending the day with the soldiers was a great experience.”
–Southern Ohio Leadership Program Attendee

GET INVOLVED Getting involved in the NFL HSPD program lets you give back to the game, gives your players a chance to compete in the
National 7-on-7 Tournament, and provides young athletes with a great opportunity to become better football players and better individuals. 
Visit and enter the promo code AFM713.


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