Jeremiah Castille Character Camp Prepares Cullman Kids For Success

by | Jun 10, 2018 | Breaking News, Sports, Youth Football

IMAGES Cullman Kiwanis Club Pancake Day 2017
Jeremiah Castille Character Camp Prepares Cullman Kids For Success

On Saturday, 208 children showed up to Cullman High School for the 11th Annual Castille Character Camp.

The camp was free to the children of Cullman County.

The campers ranging from 1st to 12th grade received training in agility and football skills from current and former University of Alabama players. Campers also were instructed in important life skills during character breaks where the coaches discussed teamwork, self-discipline, consideration of others and how to attain and maximize their potential.

The campers were also treated to lunch at the school and a cookout afterward was held at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church for participants and their families. The cookout took place after the physical training was over.

The Castille Character Camp has been free of charge for the last 10 years, but this was not always the case.

“We charged the very first year,” said T.J. Franey, Special Projects Coordinator with Cullman County Schools and one of the organizers of the event.

“I had a young man in my class who I asked if he got to attend the camp and he said, ‘My mom said we can’t afford that.’ Then I realized there are a lot of kids who don’t get to experience this because of the cost. So, we decided we would try to raise the money and make it free to all the children in the community, 1st-12th grade.”

Local sponsors including Cullman Savings Bank have provided the funding ever since.

John Riley, President, and CEO of Cullman Savings Bank and President of the Cullman Savings Foundation:

“I was fortunate to bring my son one of the first years and heard the message that Jeremiah gave to these kids and saw the impact that it made. I decided after that that I was going to be a sponsor and we’ve been sponsoring the event ever since to make it free to all county kids city and county kids.”

Jeremiah Castille, Founder of the Character Camp and the former University of Alabama and professional football player, knows the importance of a camp like this in the community:

“You have national championship players that I would say are coaching future champions. It’s important that you take people that have been successful and they can come to your community and give back to the next generation of young people.”

Scott Lockridge, Athletic Trainer at Cullman High School has volunteered with the camp for 11 years and has seen first hand the impact it has on the kids.

“Over the years, there are kids that you can see are getting it and when they get up to the high school level I’m able to see them and see their motivation and see what they were able to do and what kept them going,” Lockridge said. “They still talk about it to this day. They still say coach Castille said this, coach Castille said that. It’s phenomenal.”

Matt Plunkett, Head Football Coach for Cullman High School helped to provide the facilities for the event.

“We take great pride in our facilities,” said Plunkett. “I felt like it was a no-brainer to have so many great athletes from the University of Alabama and I wanted their culture rubbing off on our kids and our community.”

Plunkett believes an event like this is not just about football:

“If you can get a kid out here to listen to coach Castille and these guys it’s going to change their life. That’s why you coach, you’re in it to change kids’ lives and help them in their future and if we’re in it for anything else were not in it for the right reason. We’re here to make a difference in these kids’ lives.”

Hayden Hyatt

Hayden Hyatt

Story by Hayden Hyatt - Field Reporter for Cullman Today

Jeremiah Castille Character Camp Prepares Cullman Kids For Success

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Several of these images are courtesy of Soulful Snaps

Jeremiah Castille Character Camp Prepares Cullman Kids For Success

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The staff writers at Cullman Today are a collaborative group of citizen reporters sharing the writing of stories based upon their personal interests and work schedules.

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