2nd annual Jeremiah Castille Character camp a success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

By: Susan Short

The Covington County Children’s Policy Council (CCCPC) recently sponsored its 2nd Annual Jeremiah Castille Character Football Camp in the Andalusia High School indoor facility.   

Castille said that he began hosting the camps 10 years ago because of the motivation and character-building he received from coaches when he was younger.   

Castille grew up in a household with domestic violence and alcoholism, and his coaches were the people who provided him with the guidance to navigate through those obstacles. In the second grade, Castille told his teacher, Sister Veronica, that his dream was to be a professional football player. Even at an early age, Castille knew focusing on that dream helped him to continue to make the right decisions about his life so that dream could become a reality. By the time Castille was in high school, he had made the most important decision of his life, to put his trust in Jesus as his Savior.

In 1979, Castille received a football scholarship to the University of Alabama. God used the mentorship of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to help him grow from being an 18-year-old boy into a 22-year-old young man, Castille said.  Coach Bryant instilled courage, discipline, vision, leadership, character, class and humility in midst of success and this tremendously impacted his life. Jeremiah says that when he looks back on his life, he can see how God prepared him for the ministry work he does today. He knows that God used his mother and Coach Bryant to influence his life to help his fellow man. Both his mother and Coach Bryant taught him about giving to others.

With Covington County having a healthy balance of both University of Alabama and Auburn University fans, the CCCPC requested to have football players from both schools to be a part of the camp. These Division One football players commented that they enjoyed this partnership to influence kids in a positive way.

The camp has been facilitated each year by the Andalusia High School coaches Trent Taylor, Ray Wilson, Garrett Windham, Jarrett Williamson, Brad Goldman, and Ray Bozeman. CCCPC director Susan Short stated that the help each year from the AHS coaching staff is priceless and that this camp could not take place without their involvement and help, period.

The camp is free for boys entering grades 3-12 from 9:00-4:30. The morning included speed and agility skills with more specialized position training and fundamentals in the afternoon. Each hour of the camp they had what is called “character corner” whereby college players shared their own personal testimonies and inspirational stories of their journeys getting to where they are today. CCCPC Chairman, Judge Frank “Trippy” McGuire stated that this camp has a unique way of blending football with faith in God.  Many of the players that assist with the camp have testimonies and share them with the kids throughout the day. A lot of mentoring takes place during the camp. Following an afternoon meal prepared by the Iron Works Men’s Ministry, all camp participants listened to a special message from Jeremiah Castille.

The kids are taught teamwork, self-discipline, consideration of others and how to attain and maximize their true potential relative to age and development on the field and in life. Castille states that the goal of these camps is to train, develop and prepare players to reach their full potential athletically and personally through skill training and character building. 

Castille was joined by a host of current and past players which included: University of Alabama players Jamey Mosley, Josh Casher, Anfernee Jennings, Ronnie Clark, Elisha Shaw, Donavan Mosley, Kendall Norris, and Christian Miller. Auburn players included: Jalen Harris, and Darryl Williams. Former U of A players included: Tim Castille, Simeon Castille, Joseph Edwards, Dennis Alexander, and Assistant Chaplain Scotty Hollins.  Auburn’s Football Chaplain, Chett Williams, and Basketball Chaplain, Randy Roberts assisted with the camp as well.

“We’re teaching these young athletes that they can be champions if they work hard both on and off the field. We want them to understand that it takes more than exceptional football skills to become a champion. It takes character,” said Castille. 

The Jeremiah Castille Foundation and the CCCPC would like to extend their thanks to the sponsors of the camp, because without them, this camp wouldn’t be possible. Sponsors for this year included: SCAMHC, The Opp Rotary Club, Andalusia Distributing Company, Southern Independent Bank, CCB Community Bank, Andalusia Youth Football League, Southeast Gas, Powersouth, Covington Electric, The City of Andalusia, Corey D. Bryan, Judge Lex Short and John F. Jones, Jr.