Many of the Upper Peninsula's best high school athletes have gathered in Marquette this week for Saturday's U.P. Football All-Star game. The 78 players on the roster for the East and West teams have been practicing hard all week, but another big focus has been giving back to the community.
On Thursday, the players spent the afternoon with kids who are spending their summer at Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay. They took three busses that were donated by Checker Cab of Marquette.
Cody Carter-DesJardins, a senior from West Iron County, explained why the players took the time to make the trip.
"We're out here supporting these kids, supporting Bay Cliff and what they stand for. We're out here to have fun with the kids, and I just hope they're having as much fun as I am," said Carter.
It was the first time at Bay Cliff for Nate Clisch, a senior from Westwood.
"We're just giving back to the community, helping out kids that are not as fortunate as we are. It's really great to help out these kids and see what they struggle with," said Clisch. "It's really a touching experience."
The athletes spent time with many of the 135 campers at Bay Cliff, like 14-year-old Nathan Bruchman from Laurium.
"They've been signing my book, and I played catch with a couple of them," said Bruchman.
"We're giving the kids a football, letting them run around a little bit, just have fun. (They) see what we do everyday, what we practice everyday," Clisch said.
"You meet a lot of different people from different places," Bruchman added.
It was a chance for players to give back and realize that everyone can have fun, no matter their circumstance.
"Just to show that we're not above everyone else. We are just like everyone else. It doesn't matter who you are, how good you are at something, you are equal. God created everyone equal," Carter said.
"It shows that everyone around the U.P. really cares. We're all football players, but we still like to give back and see what the community has to offer," Clisch said.
The all-star week gives back to the community in other ways. Proceeds from the game on Saturday go to local charities. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. at the Superior Dome. Tickets are $6 at the door. For more information on the game, click here.