Butler camp big success

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Youngsters who came to James Butler Jr.’s second annual Dream Foundation football clinic and camp Saturday at Centennial Field enthusiastically went through various drills led by Butler, college players and high school coaches.

Butler, son of the Rev. James Butler Sr. and Nadine Butler of Climax, who signed with the St. Louis Rams as a free agent during the off season after helping lead the New York Giants to a 17-14 victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, talked about his dedication to young people and their welfare following Saturday’s event.

“I’ve been blessed and fortunate in my life, and I just want to give back to my school, my community and my county,” said the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) defensive back and Bainbridge High School Bearcats football, basketball and baseball star.

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“When I was the age of the kids out here today, a lot of adults helped and encouraged me. I also had a lot off coaches, including Kelvin Cochran and Chip Ariail, who are out here today, who helped me along the way,” Butler said. “I just want the kids to have some fun and learn some football fundamentals, while I talk to them about the importance of academics and character that my parents, teachers and coaches emphasized to me when I was growing up.”

One of the big moments of the day was a meeting between Butler and 6-year-old Smoke Bouie.

“He told me his name was Smoke,” Butler said with a smile as he gave young Bouie a high five just before he ran through one of the agility drills.

“It was hot out there on the field, but the kids didn’t complain,” Butler said. “We made sure they got plenty of fluids and didn’t get overheated.”

Coach Kelvin Cochran’s little boy, Kelvin Jr., or “K.J.,” ran through the rope drill then gave his dad a thumbs up.

“That was really heartwarming to watch,” Butler said.

“Anytime you can help a youngster in a positive way, you have done something good. I want o thank our Bainbridge coaches and Atlanta-area coaches who came out to make our clinic and camp a success,” Butler said.