Once again, in what has become an annual trip, members of Pittsburgh's incoming freshmen class, spent Friday at the Mel Blount Youth Home in Claysville, Pa. The players conduct an annual youth football camp for an afternoon.
What's interesting about this yea's group, is that it looks like this is something members of this recruiting class have done before.
"It's just great to see the kids out here, smiling," Avonte Maddox, a freshman from Detroit said. "I've done a lot of stuff with kids at home. I'm really used to it."
Chris James added that it's a great team bonding activity, for a group he considers to be close already.
"We're all here, working hard towards August 30," James said. "I love it. I'm surrounded by a great group of guys."
Patrick Amara shared a similar sentiment.
"I think it's really beneficial," Amara said. "It shows that we're mature, showing these guys how to be great young men."
The home was started by the former Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Famer in 1988. His 303-acre ranch houses approximately 24 children. Children that come to the Home are victims of child abuse and neglect. This is the seventh year that the Pitt football program has gotten involved, coming to work with the kids for a day.
After Blount retired from the Steelers in 1984, he started work on building this ranch and always knew that helping underprivileged children was something he had a passion for. He bought the piece of land after his playing days, and gradually built it up to what it is now. It also includes a barn, where they house seven horses.
There are three main cabins on the property that house the children while they are there. Also while there, kids attend the McGuffey School District. The kids are assigned chores when they stay at the home, many of which include working on the farm, even caring for the horses--something Blount says his therapeutic in many ways. He tries to ride one of the horses once every day.