Cedartown High played host for the first Castille Character Camp
Local leaders praise success of first Castille Character Camp in Cedartown
Football might be a game of toughness and skill, but its also a game of character, a lesson champion athletes hoped dozens of children from Cedartown and surrounding areas learned over the weekend at the first Castille Character Camp.
Bringing names like Olympic gold medalist Willie Smith and longtime coach and Cedartown native Joe Kines, the camp held in conjunction with the Cedartown Recreation Department at the Jeremiah Castille Foundation.
Castille, who played for Alabama and in the National Football League, is now chaplain for the Crimson Tide and started his character camp first in Cullman, Ala.
Now in Cedartown, Castille’s camps bring not only quality football education to players for free, but also the kind of character he wishes to see from players.
“If we got one camper, it went great,” he said.
Castille said more than 100 kids participated in the weekend camp, which included a session on Friday night and two sessions on Saturday.
Included in the day of football drills was a speed and agility mini camp put on by Smith.
Smith, who won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics for the 400meter relay, said that he hoped to give younger players a look at how to succeed.
“We try to inspire young kids everywhere,” Smith said. “Cedartown is just another place that we’ve added to our list to where we can provide that training and help.
Smith said his biggest piece of advice for young athletes looking to succeed is to work hard and stay out of trouble.
“Don’t waste time. Listen to your mentors, your parents and teaches,” he said. “Learn and use every bit of time to learn and develop your skills.”
Castille said what has made a difference with his camp program - and he hopes made a difference with his first Cedartown camp - were the coaches brought to help out campers for this first camp.
“The quality of the coaches that we had here to deliver that message is great,” Castille said.
Kines, who has coached on every level of the game, said he already saw early talent showing itself on the field, but that talent can be found anywhere.
“It’s all the same. God bless me I’ve coached from Junior High to the NFL. It’s all the same. A younger guy wants to do right, an older guy wants to do right to play longer,” he said. “Our job as coaches is to help them achieve and do well on the field.”
He said it was “fun to be back in Cedartown” and see old friends. He also said he heard from a lot of people who have relatives he went to school with in the past.
“They came up to me and tell me ‘ you went to school with my grandma.’ I like to tell them that back in the day their grandma was quite a looker.”
Lee Hayes, the director of the Cedartown Parks and Recreation department, said he felt the camp went exactly as it was supposed to go.
It’s was a great day and a half,” Lee said.
He said he thought not only the athletic portion of the camp, but the character lessons were an important part of the two-day session.
“It’s something that the kids really get. I hope they can carry all this with them on further. A lot of these kids play in our rec program, and we look that this will benefit them in the long run.”
Hayes also said he looked forward to the camp’s return in 2014.
The camp didn’t just draw kids from Polk County. One player, Matthew Henderson, came all the way from Canton for the camp.
“I’ve learned a lot for my position, especially good technique,” he said.
The 13-year-old said he felt the camp was a great experience.
“They’ve shown me a lot and its fun to work with them,” he said.
Top: Olympic gold medalist Willie Smith talks to a group of young athletes during a break in his mini camp Saturday. Left: Former college and NFL players helped younger players with the fundamentals during the camp. Right: Matthew Henderson of Canton...
Jeremiah Castille leads the way with young players at the first Castille Character Camp in Cedartown over the weekend. Castille said he brings some of the best coaches to his camps to ensure not only the quality of sports training but also the quality...
Cedartown native and longtime coach Joe Kines was on hand to work with players at the camp over the weekend.