Dec 29, 2021

Tigers, Cyclones Team Up To Create Lasting Memories at Day for Kids

By Carla Mangual
Florida Citrus Sports

Florida Citrus Sports helped kick off a huge week of festivities on Monday at the Cheez-It Bowl’s annual Day for Kids at FunSpot America.

As part of the event, dozens of children from The Communities of West Lakes near Camping World Stadium had a chance to spend time with players from Clemson and Iowa State before the teams battle in Wednesday’s Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 5:45 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN.

John Arie, CEO and owner of FunSpot America, said it was an honor to have two teams with outstanding leadership visit the park.

“To see two teams come together and have such a lifetime of memories being made right here in our park is amazing,” Arie said.

Players from both teams were divided into groups and partnered with kids from the community. Children ran around with players, hurrying excitedly from go-karts and bumper cars to carousels and rollercoasters.

“It’s priceless,” Arie said. “I mean, their smiles are just from ear to ear; they’re having a great time. It’s incredible.”

Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan added that watching the kids take players by the hand, running from ride to ride around the park was among the day’s highlights. He said the event was a great way to help players take a step back from football and have fun.

“I think it brings the kids out of these student-athletes,” Hogan said. “And it reminds us all about the better things in life. So I think this is what’s special about bowl season and special for our community.”

Hogan said he’s proud of the investments that Florida Citrus Sports and other local business leaders have made in the West Lakes through Lift Orlando, the West Lakes Partnership and others.

“It’s always been our goal, our aspiration, to level the playing field without regard to money and create opportunities for kids,” Hogan said.

Clemson defensive end K.J. Henry said he was enjoying his time in Orlando and was happy to get the opportunity to spend the day with the area 7-to-12-year-olds.

“Just making sure the kids have fun is the main priority,” Henry said. “So we’re having a good day today.”

The Tigers are having a good year, too. They hope to finish with a 10-win season following this Wednesday’s game. But there’s also another goal and a greater purpose that the Cheez-It Bowl serves, and Monday’s memorable morning at FunSpot was part of that.

“This is our last time with each other,” Henry said. “It’s the last time the team’s going to be with each other, and so we’re just trying to soak up and enjoy every moment of it.”

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