Former NFL Player Spearheads Summer STEM and Sports Camp with First Coast YMCA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – June 10, 2019 – The First Coast YMCA is proud to announce a partnership with the Mario Butler Foundation for a newly developed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Sports specialty camp at Kings Trail Elementary.

The STEM and Sports camp will run three days a week, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., from June 10 – July 19. The camp will serve underprivileged 5th graders, who are a part of the academic camp at Kings Trail Elementary. The camp is free to participants due to generous funding by the City of Jacksonville Kids Hope Alliance. The children will learn valuable skills and explore STEM projects, all while incorporating healthy habits and sports. Example exercises include showcasing how the Pythagorean Theorem is illustrated in football or how bio-mechanics is used daily in sports to improve posture and technique to stay healthy.

“The YMCA strives to prevent summer learning loss in children by engaging campers in STEM projects, arts and humanities, field trips and outdoor play,” said YMCA of Florida’s First Coast Vice-President of Youth Development and Operations Maria Aristizabal. “We are honored to partner with Mario Butler and his foundation to integrate STEM and sports into one program that bridges a key gap in this community, especially for our underserved youth.”

Mario Butler, Jacksonville native and former cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills, is partnering with the First Coast YMCA to spearhead the STEM and Sports pilot program. This integrated program will collect data to assess the effectiveness of combining STEM and sports in order to encourage children’s interest in STEM education and drive students into STEM-related occupations.

“The Mario Butler Foundation is committed to providing children of the future with the resources and opportunities that aren’t accessible to them in their communities,” said Butler. “The foundation’s goal is to give disadvantaged youth the opportunity to rise above life’s obstacles to achieve success.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM-related occupations are projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. This partnership with the YMCA and the Mario Butler Foundation will help several children take advantage of the millions of career opportunities in STEM and in our community.

For more information about the First Coast YMCA, please visit

For more information about the Mario Butler Foundation please visit


Media Contact
Maddie Milne, Dalton Agency
P 904.398.5222 C 828.781.6219

About the First Coast YMCA

For more than 110 years, the First Coast YMCA has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more:

About the Mario Butler Foundation

For the past 6 years, the Mario Butler Foundation has committed to providing the children of the future with the resources and opportunities that aren’t accessible to them in their communities. We do this by providing scholarships, free camps, school supplies, and so much more! Learn more: