Last week, ESPN’s bureau reporters and producers “reported” for camp. The early reporting date had nothing to do with punting and passing and everything to do with pruning and planting as the group of about 30 took part in a Team ESPN community outreach day at nearby Camp Sloper in Southington, Conn.
Reporters convened from Los Angeles (Shelley Smith) to Chicago (George Smith), and from Phoenix (Pedro Gomez) to New York (Rachel Nichols), and spent a day that was probably more gratifying, though certainly less lucrative, than what the NFLers begin experiencing this week. The day — an “ESPN Team Build” where an entire department volunteers in an effort to make an impact — was part of the reporters’ annual meeting at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters.
ESPN Corporate Outreach Coordinator Don Brooks addressed his “team,” telling them: “ESPN is committed to giving back to the community, and part of the way we do that is through volunteerism.” He explained that landscaping the camp’s Memorial Forest, sanding and painting the Nature Cabin and structuring steps at the Amphitheater, is one of more than 400 such community events staged by his division annually.
“We also use these volunteer opportunities as a way to create stronger units and build stronger working relationships for folks who don’t always get to see each other,” Brooks said. “Through opportunities like this we are not only able to impact the community, we are giving employees a chance to get together and strengthen their interpersonal relationships and team dynamic.”
Channeling his best Bill Parcells, Brooks also told his troops to stay hydrated, use sunscreen and, of course, avoid injury.
In the video above, ESPN reporters — including Jenn Brown, Colleen Dominguez and Ed Werder — and producers share tales from the day of beautifying the camp’s grounds.
Among the participants at the Camp Sloper clean-up were: Malinda Adams, Josina Anderson, Arty Berko, Jenn Brown, Colleen Dominguez, Bowen Dou, Julia Feeley, Ken Field, Shawn Fitzgerald, Michael Flasch, Tony Florkowski, Brian Franey, Jill Frederickson, Pedro Gomez, Shari Greenberg, Bob Holtzman, Glenn Jacobs, Charlie Moynihan, Kelly Naqi, Rachel Nichols, Sal Paolantonio, Andrea Pelkey, T.J. Quinn, Mark Schwarz, George Smith, Shelley Smith, Jeff Spencer, Willie Weinbaum, Ed Werder, Jim Witalka and Jon Wolf.