By RENALDO DORSETT
THE Chris Canty “Camp of Champions” returned to the Bahamas for the second consecutive year, bringing a message of religious fellowship and community service through the game of football.
Hosted by the Chris Canty Foundation and members of the United Methodist Church, the two-day camp concludes today at the DW Davis Field.
Open to players aged 8-16, the camp is scheduled for 9am to 1pm.
Joe Canty, president and chairman of the Chris Canty Foundation, said the programme has grown over the last year with an increase in the amount of participants and local coaches in this second year.
“The coolest thing for me is seeing how many more Bahamian coaches have come around to embrace what it is we are doing in this international partnership to try not only to share the gift and love of God but share through football what service and leadership is about. It’s good to see the youth come out, and more people from the Bahamian community come out and serve and teach these kids the fundamentals of the game of football,” he said.
“With the Bahamian coaches and having the youth involved people are learning and growing in the game to the point where some of them can come out and be coaches next year. So as they get older they can teach the kids the game of football using this platform and this partnership to teach the kids the right way to play the game. The importance of teamwork and the importance of giving back to the community to those who may not have. If you have something valuable to add to your community, football is one of those vehicles that can make that happen.”
Last year, the camp was hosted at the Stapledon field where scores of young players turned out to learn lessons both on and off the field from Canty and his coaching staff.
“It’s always good to see the evolution of the game and kids understanding how football transitions to later on in life, whether it be coming back to teach more fundamentals in this community and seeing how it grow as it has grown in the states,” he said.
“I think that’s the value of camps like these, they can be a part of a budding programme. Football is a game that really bridges all gaps and that has the possibility of happening here in the Bahamas.”
Canty, a 6’ 7” 317-pound defensive tackle for the New York Giants, helped the Giants pull off the upset against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, a rematch of Super Bowl XLII. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and spent four years with the club.
In 2009, he signed a six-year $42 million contract with the Giants.
In 2011, he registered career highs in tackles with 47 and sacks with four. He suffered a sprained MCL in late 2012, bringing an end to his season.
Canty signed with the defending champions Baltimore Ravens on March 12, 2013.
Caroline Wood, associate director of Discipleship Ministry with the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, said the programme came about in an effort to partner with the Canty family. “Shirley Canty is a clergy member in our conference and her sons have always had ties to football and so it was just an idea and vision that God gave us to come and bless the Bahamian people with the camp which is a wonderful opportunity for these kids.”
Known as much for his charitable work as he is known for wreaking havoc on quarterbacks on the field, Canty established the foundation early into his NFL career.
According to the foundation’s mission statement on its website, its mandate is “dedicated to enhancing the total development of youth in our communities. Our goal is to utilise the platform of sports to affect positive change in the lives of children through mentoring, educational programmes, and physical activities thus promoting health and well-being. “We seek to inspire our youth to be in service to our communities and our communities to be in service to our youth by providing support to these initiatives. Through your donations we are able to provide and support programmes for youth of all ages and backgrounds. As a philanthropic organisation, we identify organisations within communities of need that are in line with our mission and where we believe we can collectively make an impact. We rely on research and grass roots efforts with partners to develop solutions that will meet the short term and long term needs of youth in our communities. We work to enhance the total development of youth by working with families and neighbourhood programmes synergistically to provide avenues for children to develop their talents and gifts. We believe that creating an environment in which each child receives personal attention and support fosters a sense of value and self-confidence. It is our hope that by establishing high expectations for children, they will aspire to become true champions in life.”