For the 4th year, former Graceville Tiger and Kentucky Wildcat football player Anthony "Champ" Kelly brought his C.H.A.M.P. Camp back to the Panhandle, this time, at Deane Bozeman School. This year, a record number of kids came out to learn not just about football- but life.
Four years ago, Anthony "Champ" Kelly brought C.H.A.M.P. Camp to his alma mater of Graceville High School for the first time. Now, hundreds of campers later, C.H.A.M.P. Camp is held in three cities nationwide, but it's always nice to come back home.
"This area is very special to me," said Champ on Friday. "The kids in this area, they remind me of myself when I was growing up. So I'm excited about being here each and every year to have an opportunity to alter at least one kid's life. That's all we want to do at the CHAMP Camp."
Close to 300 kids took part in today's 4th Annual C.H.A.M.P. Camp and participated in basic fundamentals and learned some skills of the game, skills they'll surely use come fall.
"I learned about how to catch the football and do all the drills and stuff," said five year old JaKobe McKinnie.
"I've learned what a good linebacker stance is," pitched in ten year old Ben Blake.
"Taking different steps, throwing a different way," said Bozeman rising Junior David Elmore. "I've actually learned a lot to take away from this camp."
It's not just football that Champ is teaching the kids, as his main message are the core values of the acronym "C.H.A.M.P."- or Character, Heart, Attitude, Motivation, and Pride.
"We use football as an avenue to bring kids in," said Champ. "We want to teach these kids that winning is a habit, it's not just something that they show up on Friday's and win. You want to win in life by being respectful, by listening, by picking up trash. It's the little things that make you great."
Teaching those little things- which started in Graceville four years ago, and is reaching record numbers today. Thanks to donations, this year's C.H.A.M.P. Camp was held free of charge for all the kids.