Justin Britt conducts free camp

Photo courtesy Nicholas Mebruer
Former Lebanon football standout Justin Britt returned back to Lebanon to host a free football camp in part of his All-Star Weekend to benefit his brand new Run the Race foundation.

By: 
ALEX BOYER ALEX@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

Justin Britt is back this summer to put on his third youth football camp and Youth Health Initiative.

The Seattle Seahawk center came home for a celebrity basketball game on the hardwood Saturday. On Sunday he and his crew met the youth out on the turf at ‘Jacket Stadium for a youth camp from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and held a camp for the older student-athletes in the afternoon.

“Well, the basketball game was just for fun and a way to bring in some people I know, former Mizzou players and NFL guys I know. I just wanted to have fun with the community and give back,” Britt said.

On hand for the weekend events was Dajon Love with the Iowa Barnstormers, Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock, rapper NowDaze, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Amara Darboh, former Waynesville Tiger L.J. Fort who currently plays linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and former SMU defensive lineman Spencer Conley among others.

“The foundation is called “Run the Race” because, even in this community, we all are chasing something, and that chase is our race,” Britt said. “Each one of us has our own race which is unique — “run the race” is from 1 Corinthians 9:24 and I wanted that to be the name of it. We aren’t tied to one charity or foundation, and we aren’t tied to them all.”

Britt, a second-round draft pick in 2014 said he is here to give these youth in his hometown access to great football minds to grow and be their best.

“Hopefully one of these kids can go on and do even better than me,” he said.

Justin’s presence and the foundation are more than just encouraging kids to be better football players. He said he desires that all the kids and families in the community, often who are less fortunate. Britt feels like there is a lot he and everyone can do to partner up to make it happen.

“And now is the just the start of it,” he said. “In the future, we look to do even more. We are partnering with S.C.A.N. (Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition) to help better their program. It is remarkable what they do,” he said.

Coming back to Lebanon for a third camp, Britt admitted he doesn’t have the time to go into great depth. But he is here with his volunteers to help kids hone in on their skills as students lined up and did either offensive drills or lineman practice.

“We can teach the kids technique. But really we focus on discipline and teamwork and how to be a great individual and be successful,” he said. “My job out here isn’t to teach them techniques, and I’m not a coach. My job is to teach them discipline and the traits one needs to be great. I have some coaches here to help with techniques at various positions.”

“I love this community and what they did for me. I feel like this is one of the best communities because they love each other and support each other. You don’t see that much, and I’ve been a lot of places,” he said. “How much I want to give back leaves me speechless. I was in many of these players shoes. I didn’t have a lot of money growing up.”

Britt also said he wants to inspire the older people in the community to be better examples and supporters of youth, for him and his crew is only here for a week or two each summer.

“I plan on coming back for the camps year after year, but the entertainment like celebrity softball games or basketball games could change from year to year.

Players attended Saturday for Lebanon, Waynesville, Bolivar, Fair Grove among others in the area.

Lebanon High School head coach Will Christian was on hand to express his appreciation for his former football pupil Britt.

“He comes back twice a year to give back to Lebanon and southwest Missouri. I’m also excited about the crew he brings with him: Mizzou players, NFL players … any time our kids and other kids are working on getting better out on the field that is a plus,” Christian said.

At the elementary camp (Saturday morning) we had Drew Lock and some Mizzou receivers and linemen, according to Christian.

“On had were a lot of different influences and individuals to help kids,” he said. “We are just blessed to have Justin be here. And the elementary camps in the morning is a very important thing and is much appreciated.”

Lebanon senior Leo Martinez saw it as a great opportunity to get himself out to Jacket Stadium today to take part in the camp.

“It’s fun to put the work in every single day while many are just sitting at home,” he said. “Coming out here and working on our routes, even more, is going to make us better, learning what knowledge they have and it is fun.”

“I just wanted to come out here and be around NFL players and learn some new things,” he said.
To contact Justin’s Run the Race Foundation go to Britt’s Twitter @JustinBritt68.

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The Laclede County Record

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