Colts safety Darius Butler held his second annual football camp on June 10th at Joseph C. Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A native of Broward County, Butler grew up in the area – known for producing professional football players – and he still calls it home.
He enjoys sharing his football life with the hometown kids.
“They see us on TV and they see that a lot of guys from that area made it. It still means something for them to see us up close and personal and be able to talk to you, ask you questions, be able to learn directly from you – even just hug you, high five you, autograph, take a picture, whatever it is. It can impact a young kid’s life and any opportunity I get to do that, I try to.”
This year, he reached out to a young kid who was having trouble taking instruction.
“I just pulled him to the side and talked to him. He was one of the better athletes, one of the better players, and I just told him, ‘These young kids are looking up to you already. Do your friends listen to you and do what you say?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah.’ And I was just like, ‘Use that in a positive way. Lead your friends, have a positive attitude, that will go a long way.’”
It seemed to pay off.
“I had to get his attention,” he said. “It kind of turned him around for the rest of the camp. It seemed like he had a better day. So, that was kind of my favorite moment.”
Whether they’re gifted athletes, scholars, or artists, Butler wanted all the kids to leave his camp with the same message.
“It’s really about how hard you work at it, how much you believe in it, and the people that you keep around you. Keep a good group of positive people around you and the sky’s the limit, regardless of what you want to do. Everybody can’t be a professional athlete, but you can be a doctor, lawyer, police officer, whatever you want to be, if you put the work in.”
Like most things Butler does, his football camp was a family affair.
“Plenty of family and friends and volunteers, it was a great turnout,” he said. “My brothers, some friends, my high school coaches all came out. Where I train in the offseason, they came and helped out. So, it was a lot of good faces.”
This year, they added cheerleaders to the mix.
“My sister ran the cheer portion of it,” he said. “She cheered for the Dolphins, Panthers, and danced for the Heat. So, she’s obviously well versed in that area.”
They ended the day with awards and all the campers left with swag bags from the Colts, an autographed item from Butler, lunch, and life lessons.
For kids, like the boy Butler reached out to, it’s mostly about knowing someone cares.
“His dad or his coach, I’m not sure who it was exactly, but he came up to me and said, ‘What did you talk to him about? What happened?’ And I was just like, ‘Oh, he had a few issues here and there.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been working on that with him a lot. I really appreciate you talking to him.’”
Anyone can inspire a child. But not everyone takes the time to do it.
Darius Butler chased his dream from Joseph C. Carter Park all the way to the NFL.
And he wants to inspire these kids to chase their dreams – no matter where they take them.
“It’s about touching kids and having them see you and touch you and know that their dreams are a possibility.”
Darius Butler’s dream came true.
Today, he’s a living example – that theirs can too.