We had another successful year of camp, with 90 campers in attendance. Of those, 85 percent were Native American, 70 percent of whom were CPN members. We also had 14 girls, making it the most girls we have ever had at the camp. The first day focused on life skills and how to put them into use every day. The second day, each camper brought a parent or guardian to work with  as a team all day.  

This camp is more than just football camp. The coaches work very hard to instill life skills in the minds of campers. These are based off of the four main principals of discipline, respect, trust and hard work. After every drill, coaches discuss with campers about how the skills they learned can be applied to everyday life. For example, having discipline means that you sit in the front row of the classroom at school.  Having respect can be as simple as saying please and thank you when talking to peers or adults.  

This year we really saw “light bulbs” going off with the kids and could see that they understood what the coaches were trying to convey. The parents were thrilled with the information the coaches were teaching.  

Jon Sparks attended the second day of camp with his son Caleb and said, “The things the coaches are telling them are the same things that I tell them at home. It really makes a difference when the kids are hearing it from someone else other than their parent. I sincerely hope the Potawatomi Tribal administration continue to see the benefits in this program and continue to bring it back in the years to come.”

The coaches, who consisted of Oklahoma Sooners legend Josh Heupel, his father Ken Heupel and many other previous college and NFL players, dined with CPN Tribal Legislators Bob Whistler, Paul Schmidlkofer, David Barrett and Lisa Kraft.

Billy Lawrence, a Tribal member, volunteers his time each year to cook lunch for the campers.  Over the course of the two day camp he cooked more than 200 hot dogs and hamburgers, per day, for campers, parents and coaches.  

“For me,” said Lawrence, “this is my way of giving back to my Tribe and to the future leaders of our Tribe.”

If you would like to know more information about the Day of Champions football camp please visit their website at www.dayofchampions.org.