Leroy Smith wants to make a difference.
Smith, a former football standout from Quincy Shanks and Florida State, hasn't forgotten his days as a youth in Gadsden County. More importantly, he also remembers the people and role models who inspired him, who pointed him in the right direction and, when needed, swatted him on the rump.
Smith, 28, has grown into one of the good guys in the world. He's polite and personable, always offering a quick smile and handshake. He is now that role model looking to instill confidence and discipline in today's youth.
Smith has returned to his roots, determined to help local, county and area youth -- boys and girls. Smith's first annual Win-Win Football and Cheerleader Camp is scheduled for July 16-18 at Corry Field in Quincy.
Win-Win is a very cool acronym for "When You Find Out What's Important, Work is Necessary." Believe me when I say that Smith has worked extremely hard to make this camp happen.
"It's absolutely necessary that we put our time and our effort into our kids," said Smith, who has two young twins (girl and boy).
"My goal is to get the kids and the community involved because many of these kids in rural areas are not aware of the talent they have and the opportunities that are out there. I was blessed. I want to give these kids a vision and positive reinforcement. It's important that we get involved."
Former FSU and pro players scheduled to help include Kendyll Pope, Nick Maddox, Jeff Chaney and Jamar Enzor. College-aged cheerleaders are also scheduled to attend and offer their instruction for the girls.
Smith credits former FSU coach Bobby Bowden for helping shape his life under God's eyes. Smith plans to borrow a number of Bowden's approaches, including the It Jar. The jar represents identity plus thinking plus actions equals results.
"I've helped with camps in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville, so I've had the opportunity to share my experiences from college and in the NFL, and this is something I've always wanted to do in Gadsden County," Smith said.
Registration for Smith's camp is from 8 to 9 a.m. on July 16-17. The camp is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon. Camp on Sunday, July 18, is from 4 to 6 p.m. The camp is open for children ages 14 and under.
For more information regarding the cost, contact Smith at 850-210-3958.
"I just want people to understand just how important it is for these young kids to have something to do, to have goals and dreams and to let them know we care," Smith said.
Smith chased and fulfilled his dreams in high school, in college and in the NFL. In fact, he's still chasing them in professional football as he tries to land in the competitive United Football League.
Sports fans don't forget.
Smith was one of the finer athletes to come out of Gadsden County, setting Shanks' career record with 16 interceptions. He graduated from the same high school as former Seminole and Super Bowl XXXVI Most Valuable Player Dexter Jackson and former FSU safety Abdual Howard.
Smith played at FSU from 2000-2004.
href="http://floridastate.rivals.com/forum.asp?sid=1061&fid=1079&style=2">Football Message Board or on the Tribal Council