By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
At age 11, Patryk Szustka is a little too young to play in the National Football League. But the Dyker Heights youngster he did get to hang out with New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and other NFL pros over the June 1-2 weekend. Patrick, a PS 170 student who plays football in the Parkville Youth Organization, won a contest sponsored by Welch’s Fruit Snacks and earned the chance to take part in a mini-training camp.
The Welch’s Fruit Snacks Super Fan Contest gave Patrick and nine other regional winners a once in a lifetime opportunity to join football pros in training camps across the country. The New York region camp took place at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, where Patrick and Staten Island winner Joe Marani picked up tips from their heroes at the event.
The Welch’s Fruit Snacks Super Fan Contest was held on Facebook, where parents submit their children’s names. Welch’s and ProCamps Worldwide, an organization that runs training camps, worked in partnership for the project.
“He loves football, so this is a dream come true for him,” Patryk’s dad, Brandon Farley, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on May 31, the day before the training camp started. “He has loved football all his life. Even when he was only five years old, he already knew the names of all the quarterbacks in the NFL,” the proud father said.
Patryk and his father watch football together during the season. “The Giants are his favorite team,” Farley said.
At Parkville, Patryk plays defense. “He’s a pretty good all around athlete. He plays baseball, basketball, and soccer. And he loves fishing, too. He keeps busy,” Farley said.
When he’s not playing sports, Patryk keeps up with his studies. “He’s a good math student,” his father said.
Welch’s and ProCamps sponsored five training camps across the country over the weekend hosted by star athletes like Tuck, Rob Gronkowski, Patrick Willis, AJ Green and Evan Turner.
The weekend was fun, but it had a serious intent, according to Josh Shapiro, vice president of marketing for Promotion in Motion, the company that makes Welch’s Fruit Snacks. “We hope that our participation in ProCamps and involvement with top athletes across the country will help spread Welch’s Fruit Snacks’ message encouraging an active lifestyle and smarter snacking choices for kids of all ages,” Shapiro said.
“Offering these kids the opportunity to attend their local ProCamp will help them to realize their dreams of meeting and playing with some of the best professional athletes in the world, and to learn about the benefits of an active lifestyle first-hand,” he said.
“We are thrilled to partner with Welch’s Fruit Snacks for the second year in a row and to offer thousands of kids a better snacking option at our camps this summer,” said Eric Liebler, senior vice President, ProCamps Worldwide.