Former Liberty County Panther football player and Canadian Football League professional Cedric Dickerson is coming to the Liberty County Recreation Department for his annual youth football camp.
The camp is scheduled for July 16-18 at Long Bell Stadium.
Dickerson, who played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for three years, will be joined by his cousin, standout Yellow Jacket defensive-end Michael Johnson.
Johnson was the 70th pick in the recent NFL draft, signing with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dickerson and his cousin are originally from Selma, Ala., but Dickerson played for LCHS after his family moved to Hinesville. After high school, Dickerson played at Valdosta State where he was a three-time team captain, three-time All-Conference, two-time All-South and a Daktronics All-South All-American. He was part of three conference titles Valdosta State earned and he played on the first team to make it to the national championship game in school’s history.
Dickerson said the camp is his way of giving back.
"It’s about giving back to the community that has given me so much," he said. "The people of Hinesville showed me some love when I played football there. So it’s my duty to come back and give back to the kids. God blessed me with the opportunity to play professional football … and the Bible says too much is given much is required and that is my philosophy on it."
Last year’s camp drew roughly 70 kids and featured Dickerson, Johnson and former Jacksonville Jaguar offensive lineman, Richard Collier.
"Even if I get only 20 kids there that is fine with me," he said. "As long as I can reach one or two kids, get the word out and teach them something they might not have known already. They’ll be better for that experience."
Dickerson said he is working on bringing in another NFL player to this year’s camp. He said Johnson’s rookie experience in the NFL will give the kids plenty to talk about.
"Kids in Hinesville don’t usually get those types of opportunities," he said about having NFL players assist at his camp.
Dickerson, who currently lives in Atlanta, has been busy coaching high school football at Lassiter High School and recently got married. He said football has guided him through life.
"Football gave me the opportunity to play with a lot of guys from different cultural backgrounds and different beliefs," he said. "It teaches you how to work with people every day. You also learn to overcome adversity. At some point, if you play football long enough, you are going to be behind. And it’s about how do you respond to things when you are down. You know you have to get back up and push yourself to be better and to win and be successful and that is the same thing as this game of life."
The registration fee for the football camp is $35 per person and can be paid through the LCRD. Camp will run from 9 a.m.-noon each day. For more information, call the LCRD at 876-5359.