Each June, campers comprised of Potawatomi tribal members and children of Tribal employees gather at FireLake Ball Fields to take part in the now annual tradition of the Day of Champions Football Camp.
Last year, 90 campers spent two days going through drills, playing games and learning leadership from coaches with a vast array of professional, collegiate and high school experience. Of those 90 campers, 85 percent were Native Americans, of which 70 percent were Citizen Potawatomi.
Though the camp centers on football skills, its purpose is far from being focused on gridiron action.
“Coaches work very hard to instill life skills into the minds of the campers,” said Sarah Lawerance, a CPN Fitness Trainer and organizer of the camp. “They teach the kids about the four main principals of the camp; discipline, trust, respect and hard work. The examples they give are as simple as showing that discipline can mean being the student sat at the front of the class, or saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as a sign of respect.”
The camp is led by former collegiate coach Ken Heupel and his son, former OU standout and current Utah State University Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel. The camp’s other staff members are all former collegiate or professional players and coaches themselves, providing campers unique one-on-one experiences with individuals who have lived up to the camp’s four principals in their own right.
Applications are still available for this year’s June 29-30 camp, which takes place immediately following the annual CPN Family Reunion Festival. Students from first through eighth grade are eligible to participate at $15 per camper.
Campers will receive lunch each day, a camp T-shirt and only need to bring a bottle of water with their name on it. Girls and boys are encouraged to attend; with both groups able to receive either football or softball sports skills instructions.
“The softball aspect is new to the camp this year,” explained Lawerance. “We will have softball coaches working with the young ladies. They will learn proper nutrition, strength and conditioning as well as throwing, catching and hitting. We are very excited to implement this into this fantastic camp.”
A registration form can be downloaded here. For more information, please contact Sarah Lawerance at 405-395-9305 or by emailing skessler@potawatomi.