CFISD Football Players Lead Districtwide Camp for Life Skills StudentsÂ
By Valerie Okey-Ejiowhor, Mia Vargas and Maiya Brown, Cypress Falls HS
In an effort to allow equal opportunity for all students, Cypress Falls High School hosted its annual Camp Courage on May 16. The districtwide skills camp is for middle school and high school students enrolled in LIFE Skills classes and designed for them to learn sports skills and experience the camaraderie of players within a team.
The camp began as a campus-wide effort at Cypress Falls in 2019. Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator Chris Brister was inspired by Chris Massey, an old colleague and the former head coach at Deer Park High School. Massey pushed Brister to start the program, doing so the first year with only 13 participants.
That first year, the Golden Eagle football players led sports-specific drills for the students enrolled in the LIFE Skills program, which assists participants with special needs in learning functional communication and academic skills.
Camp Courage has now spread across the entire district with all 12 high school football programs participating. The Cypress Falls cheerleaders even led a station to help participants learn routines and cheer skills.
In total, the camp hosted 34 participants.
“It was really exciting to see all the smiles on their faces and how much we've made their day better,” Cypress Falls junior Brayden Bittner said. “It's a cool opportunity to connect with kids you really wouldn't see very often. You form connections otherwise you wouldn't have.”
Stations were set up inside and around the gymnasiums. Camp participants were able to learn and practice skills that including tackling and throwing. A photo backdrop was also set up with helmets for photo opportunities.
Participants were able to freely move around each of the stations where they were met by players who helped assist them in the skills required for that station. For some stations, participants were teammates from the same school. But in others, student-athletes who compete against each other in the fall worked side-by-side to promote a positive experience.
“To be honest, I actually wanted to cry. Not in like sadness, but tears of joy because it was cool to see,” Langham Creek junior Jordan Washington said.
Added Cypress Falls junior Clayton Meekins: “I feel like what makes Camp Courage so unique is just the chance we’re giving kids that weren't as lucky as us. My favorite highlight was definitely seeing how happy the kids were after they got the opportunities we get to do on the field.”
More than 105 student-athletes helped to work at Camp Courage. Brister said he was proud of CFISD students coming together for a positive experience.
“We work these guys really hard sometimes,” he said. “Some of the guys that you think are some of the quietest kids when they get around a situation like this, they’re the best ones we’ve had. There wasn’t a kid out there that we brought that didn’t have a good time and I know the campers did too.”
Source: Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
« BACK TO NEWS