Jeremiah Castille

Jeremiah Castille speaks to a group of kids at his annual Castille Character Camp at Heritage Park.

Former Alabama and NFL player Jeremiah Castille will bring his annual Castille Character Camp back to Cullman for the 10th time next Saturday. 

The free camp is available for boys and girls in the first through 12th grades and will take place at Heritage Park.

The speed and agility portion of the camp for grades 1-6 is set to begin at 9:15 a.m. The football camp for grades 6-12 will begin at 9 a.m. and be followed by their own speed and agility session.

Castille played football for the Crimson Tide under Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1979-1982 and added six years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos. 

As in previous years, he will be joined by former and current Alabama football players, as well as Auburn graduate and Olympic gold medalist Willie Smith. 

After the camp is over, a cookout and Saturday night worship service will be held at 5 p.m. at St. John's Church. Autographs and photos can be acquired during this time as well.

For a registration form, call T.J. Franey, the special projects coordinator for the Cullman County Board of Education at 256-590-4803, or go by the Board of Education offices to pick one up in person. 

Registration is also available the day of the camp, but Franey said they would like people to pre-register so there is an accurate head count for the provided lunch. 

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

"It was the coaches that helped influence my life to overcome the battles I had at home," he said. 

He said he knows there are many kids who have a home life like he had and wants his camp to provide similar guidance to what he received from coaches in the past. 

There are several people who have attended camps for more than a year and have said how much they have helped motivate them, Castille said. He mentioned one young man from out of town who came to the camp for six or seven years in a row, and later returned to coach at last year's camp. 

"He told me that coming to the camps really helped motivate him to graduate from high school," Castille said. 

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 138. 

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