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2013 New Orleans Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon – Community & Youth Group Visits

The New Orleans Saints hosted a number of community organizations during 2013 Training Camp presented by Verizon

2013 New Orleans Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon – Community & Youth Group Visits


During Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon, the team hosted several groups, including the NFL Youth Education Town – New Orleans. NFL YET is an educational and recreation center constructed in Super Bowl host cities as the lasting legacies of the games.

In order to positively impact the lives of youths living in often-troubled neighborhoods in Super Bowl Cities, the NFL donates $1 million toward each NFL YET project. Other funding comes from local public and private support, and it is the NFL's goal that each NFL YET remains a viable force in their communities long after a Super Bowl has been played.

In addition to the opportunity to come to a training camp practice, NFL YET also received support from Saints Guard Ben Grubbs. In June, Grubbs hosted his annual softball game at Zephyrs Field from which NFL YET received proceeds to support its mission. Grubbs' foundation focuses its efforts on providing strength and encouragement to at-risk youth, including teaching them about goal setting and conflict resolution.

For more information about NFL Yet New Orleans, visit


Members of the Touchdown Club of New Orleans had the opportunity to visit 2013 Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon, taking in a practice and getting an early look at this year's team.

Originally formed in 1967, the club currently functions as a registered non-profit organization. Hester was a former New Orleans Saints Linebacker who also played at Tulane University and Holy Cross High School. His football career ended when he succumbed to Leukemia. In his honor, The Touchdown Club created the Ray Hester Memorial for Leukemia Research. The group also provides a local student with a four-year scholarship to the University of New Orleans.  

The aims and objectives of the club are "to be the best fan club and social organization that promotes and creates spirit and enthusiasm among friends, family and the community connected to the New Orleans Saints: "Football, Family, Fun." In order to achieve our goals we promote various functions during the year, but are mostly active during the pro football season.

Dinner meetings are held during the football season every Tuesday before a home game and frequently include a visit from a member of the Saints organization, but are only opened to Touchdown Club members and their guests.

Recently, the Touchdown Club of New Orleans hosted the 45th Annual Meet the Saints Luncheon which included awards for the 2012 season. Running Back Mark Ingram received the 2012 Ed Block Courage Award, while the Offensive Player of the Year award was given to Wide Receiver Lance Moore. Defensive End Cameron Jordan and Linebacker Curtis Lofton received the Co-Defensive Players of the Year recognition, while Punter Thomas Morstead was named the Special Teams Player of the Year.

The Meet the Saints Luncheon was cancelled in 2011 due to hurricane preparations, so the event also included the 2011 season awards. Tight End Jimmy Graham was presented with the Ed Block Courage Award, while Graham and Quarterback Drew Brees were named 20111 Co-Offensive Players of the Year. Safety Roman Harper was named Defensive Player of the Year and Running Back Darren Sproles was named Special Teams Player of the Year.

The entire Saints roster and coaching staff, members of the team's business staff, Owner/Chairman of the Board Tom Benson and his wife Gayle, Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc, the entire Saints roster and coaching staff, and the team's football and business administration personnel, were joined by members of the Touchdown Club and over 1,300 fans for the event.

For more information on Touchdown Club of New Orleans, including information about membership and upcoming events, please visit
Magnolia Adult School

Residents from The Magnolia School had the opportunity to attend a practice during 2013 Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon. The Magnolia School, founded in 1935, is an organization providing supports to adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

Offering support and services in 19 group homes, supported independent living, vocational/day habilitation program, and supported employment in cooperation with area businesses, The Magnolia School is home to 125 individuals.

In conjunction with supporting The Magnolia School, Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc and Saints Fullback Jed Collins are showing their support for the Special Olympics Louisiana.

For the last four years, LeBlanc has rappelled down Benson Tower as a part of Special Olympics Louisiana's "Over the Edge" fundraiser. During the event, local Special Olympians enjoyed music and spending time with more than 40 "Over the Edge" participants. The event also featured appearances by Saints mascots Sir Saint and Gumbo.  This year's "Over the Edge" fundraiser will take place on Nov. 8.

Collins serves as a Louisiana Ambassador for Special Olympics. Most recently, Collins attended the Louisiana State Summer Games in Hammond, La., where Special Olympics awarded 441 gold, 340 silver and 251 bronze medals to Special Olympics athletes.

For more information about Magnolia Adult School, please visit and to learn more about Special Olympics Louisiana, go to

United Houma Nation Youth Group

The United Houma Nation Youth Group, hosted by tribe member Saints Director of Youth Programs Jason Trosclair, visited Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon at the end of July, taking in a practice and making a special presentation to Head Coach Sean Payton about the importance of coastal restoration.  Upon meeting Payton, the group presented the Saints' leader with two special gifts – a necklace made of an alligator spine and claws, as well as a woven basket.

The United Houma Nation (UHN) is a state recognized tribe of approximately 17,000 tribal citizens residing within a six-parish (county) service area encompassing 4,570 square miles. The six parishes, Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, St. Mary, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes are located along the southeastern coast of Louisiana. Within this area, distinct tribal communities are situated among the interwoven bayous and canals where Houma has traditionally earned a living.

Although by land and road these communities are distant, they were historically very close by water. However, boat travel is no longer a viable option due to the effects of coastal erosion, which has left these waterways either nonexistent or impassable and often treacherous. The Tribe has been working with local, state and federal government as well as foundations and environmental organizations on addressing some of the current and forthcoming impacts of coastal restoration on the state of Louisiana.

To learn more about the United Houma Nation Youth Group and its mission, visit

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