The first session campers at Florida Citrus Sports’ Summer Camp got a big surprise — literally — when NBA legend Shaquille O’ Neal popped in unexpectedly on Monday.
O’Neal, who owns a home in Windermere, stopped by Monday to offer advice and encouragement to the FCSports campers. In his brief stop, he reminded the children to stay out of trouble, stay in school, respect their parents and believe in themselves. He jokingly added to “stay off of YouTube.”
Before heading out, one camper presented O’Neal with a certificate of appreciation for his service in the community. In addition to his well-known exploits as a basketball player and rapper, O’Neal has also spent a great deal of time and interest in law enforcement. He went through the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy and became a reserve officer with the L.A. Port Police and in 2005, he was given an honorary U.S Deputy Marshall title title and named the spokesman for the Safe Surfin’ Foundation, an organization which tracks down sexual predators who target children on the internet.
The number one overall pick of the Orlando Magic in 1992, O’Neal finished the 2007-08 NBA season with the Phoenix Suns. A two-time gold medalist and 14-time All-Star, O’Neal has been a member of four NBA Championship teams, most recently the 2006 Miami Heat.
Florida Citrus Sports Summer Camp the cornerstone program of the FCSports Foundation. More than 450 children participate in three, four-week camps for economically-disadvantaged youth from Orange and Seminole counties. The camp is free to all participants and includes a free physical prior to camp, a free dental cleaning and check-up, and free transportation.
The Camp stresses academics, athletics, attitude and achievement as it builds confidence and teamwork in the participants, while teaching valuable life skills.
Each year, up to 40 campers are selected to participate in the Florida Citrus Golf Camp. At-risk youth are exposed to the game of golf, its rules and etiquette under the eyes of professional instructors at the beautiful Falcon’s Fire Golf Club at Seralago in Kissimmee.
There is no charge to the participants or their families, as all tuition and costs associated with the Florida Citrus Sports Camp are paid by the Foundation.