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Bills Preseason Camp: A Great Experience For Fans And Camp Workers

Bills Preseason Camp: A Great Experience For Fans And Camp Workers

Bills Camp At St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, NY

Photos by Paul 'MR NFL' Adamo

Thursday because of weather considerations the Bills held a closed practice and fans were not able to see them at St. John Fisher College one last time. The Bills closed camp as they prepare for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home Saturday at 7:30 PM. The Bills this preseason had the longest camp of any of the 32 NFL teams. They started with an evening practice Sunday, July 20 and will end their camp in Pittsford, August 21.

This month has been a great one for myself at St. John Fisher as I was able to attend almost all of the practices to get a firsthand look at the Bills as they prepare for the upcoming season. My first impression of the camp on that first practice is the same that I will take away with me. St. John Fisher College is a first-class institution of higher learning and provides a great atmosphere for the Bills camp. The physical layout of the campus is beautiful, rolling inclines with tree laden walking areas spot the campus in between the college buildings and dormitories. The campus has a real feeling of community and the athletic facilities are top-notch as the Bills during their 15 year stay have contributed to the construction of Growney Stadium, other athletic fields, NFL caliber locker rooms, and the Fieldhouse which the Bills use on rain days. With new ownership coming in the next month for the Bills the greater Rochester area hopes that the new owner will keep the camp in Rochester at St. John Fisher. More than once I heard comments from media people from all of the country that the Bills camp location at St. John Fisher is one of the nicest in the NFL.

I had the opportunity during this month of camp to meet many of the hard-working St. John Fisher camp workers and also Bills employees who helped to make the camp so successful. All ages and backgrounds represented and many people who truly are Bills supporters and love the opportunity to provide a great experience to the fans attending the camp. Richard Zaifert and Gabi Sankowski are two long time Bills camp employees who love their work at the preseason camp and look forward to every July when camp opens. Both have been at the camp for over 10 years and when I spoke to them their enthusiasm and support for the Bills was evident.

Gabi a resident of Pittsford told me," I work for the college. I love working the camp for many reasons. I really enjoy the people that I work with, I love being around the players and coaches, being involved with the NFL. The Bills staff is always friendly to me and being up close in an NFL setting is very thrilling. The camp schedule also works very well for myself, because I run sports camps for kids mostly in July and the Bills camp usually starts in late July, so it works out very well. All in all, working at Fisher has been great fro me. It's a great college to work for, that's why I keep coming back".

Richard' story is similar. A resident of East Amherst, Buffalo he became a Buffalo Bills ticket holder in 2000 and also joined their "Blue Coat" Organization. "We worked as Volunteers at local community events promoting season ticket sales) One of the events we were asked to work was Training Camp at St. John Fisher. While I was there helping them in the Community Relations Tent I observed the Fisher Training Camp Security Staff & decided I would like to do that job! So, in 2006 I emailed them my resume & was interviewed & hired!, he told me one day at camp.

Meeting both Richard and Gabbi added to the enjoyment at the Bills camp. I hope to see both next year at St. John Fisher. A great month watching NFL players upfront and personal. An enjoyable family atmosphere for the fans and workers. Let the NFL season begin!!!


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