By Donnell Suggs
The first annual Camp 41 football camp took place on Saturday at Bulldog Stadium on the campus of LaFayette High School. Hosted by LaFayette native and former University of West Alabama All-American defensive tackle Jared Washington, the camp was a successful combination of giving back and a dream and goal realized. Along with Washington, area natives Chris Carlise, Desmond Holloway, Devon Mackey, Qua Boyd and Joe Vines assisted in helping the attendees work on their skills and techniques. The kids who attended the 2-3 hour camp received a Camp 41 t-shirt and lunch.
Washington spent his freshman year of high school at LaFayette High before transferring to Lanett High School due to disciplinary reasons. Washington would turn both his life and football career around with the help of his cousin Tamala Colquitt, her family and the coaching staff at Lanett High School before moving on to play two successful seasons at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His play earned him a scholarship offer from the University of West Alabama in Livingston and that’s where started ticking off goals from his list. “I wrote a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish and I got started on them as soon as I could,” said Washington by phone on Memorial Day. The list was short but far from simple: 1-Graduate from college, 2-Make the Division II All-American team, 3-Play in the Canadian Football League, 4-Give back to his hometown and surrounding community. Washington graduated this spring -check- and Camp 41’s recent success -check two- has his list down to halfway done. “I love giving back to my community, it was one of my biggest goals,” he says.
During breaks in the action, Washington and his team of camp counselors took time to do more than just talk X’s and O’s with the kids. “We talked to the kids about education being the key to success and the importance in respecting their parents, teachers and coaches,” says Washington.
Washington hopes much more than football sticks with the kids, “I want them to know that if I can make it out a small town then they can too.” The same can be said for having a school-related setback or academic issue or any other issue that a young person may encounter. Your present is not always a true indicator of your future. Jared Washington can be proof of that.
Currently recuperating from surgery for a sports hernia, Washington is milling an offer from the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. “I’ve been in touch with the team, first I have to recover from surgery,” says Washington. “It’s a day to day process and I am looking forward to playing in Canada.” The C.F.L. regular season starts on June 23 with the preseason starting on June 8. If Jared Washington has showed us anything, it’s a safe bet to know he’s going to keep checking off goals off his list.