Football Camp for the Stars was created in 2007 by Coach Mike Machado from Valley Christian High School as an inclusive opportunity for athletes with Down syndrome who love football. Coach Machado involves the Down syndrome community, his high school football players, and many current and former 49ers.  It's truly an awesome and unique experience, the kind of thing that builds personal confidence and happy memories!

You can learn more about this great camp at Football Camp for the Stars!


Camp PALS in Georgetown

The first year Brandon flew solo he went to Camp PALS in Philadelphia. We were very nervous with the idea of him being away for a week, all the way across the country. Things went well enough that the second time he flew solo was to Washington D.C. This year he went to Georgetown, where Roland Rizzi was his buddy for the week. They bonded during the week and have continued their friendship via email and text.  Roland described Brandon as the 6th man to their counseling group, or at least Brandon thought he was.  This past year he made a repeat performance, but Brandon stopped to see his old friend and her family in Orlando.  We were taking advantage of the opportunity to get some mom and dad time for ourselves, a 6 hour time change away, soaking in the rays on Waikiki Beach.  This year was different, we knew he was in good hands. Brandon was happy, and mom and dad were VERY happy.  Years ago we never dreamed he could manage and handle himself alone on a plane, as well as make his own connections at the other end!

You can learn more about this great program at Camps - PALS Programs!

In 2015, a new mom who just had a baby 5 months prior wrote him and said, "Mavis just got her PALS package today, and we just wanted to thank you, and Brandon Gruber in particular, for the sweet letter and awesome bracelets! You're a wonderful young man, Brandon! Best of luck to you in you!

Here is a picture of Mavis (4 months old) with her bracelet and she may or may not be whistling for a cab

What a wonderful program PALS is! Thanks again!
The Harned family

"When I travel solo, it gives me a lot of independence and I have to problem solve.  I really like it."


"Just another day at Georgetown Camp Pals"