Jason Witten thinks athletes carry a responsibility as role models to help develop children in the community to be healthy and happy through sports.
Motivated by his Christian faith, Witten lives his values while sponsoring kid-focused football camps and other charities.
Liberty Christian School in Argyle hosted the 6th annual Citi Jason Witten Football ProCamp on May 16-17.
“I think as an athlete I have a huge platform to reach young kids and encourage them to dream big, have integrity and think about how they treat other people. Life never came easy for me and a lot of people made sacrifices along the way that allowed me to get where I am so I and these coaches through ProCamps want to encourage these kids to dream big,” Witten said.
“My kids go to school here and we wanted to get this area because we know there are a lot of kids that love football. Athletics is a huge part of Argyle and what they try to teach, so this was a huge opportunity to try to do that. Liberty is a great school and this camp is about the amazing things you can do in two days. I’m honored in serving this community.”
The Dallas Cowboys are known for helping charities like the Salvation Army. Witten sponsors the SCORE foundation that focuses on families affected by domestic violence.
“A lot of times the focus is on the negativity that occurs around athletes, but a lot of athletes are doing good things and we try to be a shining light in a lot of kid’s lives. That’s what today is all about,” Witten said.
Witten is guided in life by his strong faith in Christianity.
“A huge part of my walk is my faith. Understanding that I’ve been blessed tremendously and am so undeserving. God has taken me from a young man who had these dreams and never knew if he could accomplish them to a person able to speak to people. I’m reminded daily about how blessed I’ve been in God’s unconditional love for me. It’s what I teach my kids, it’s why I established my foundation, it’s who I am…my faith.”
He said that being an athlete provides a powerful platform for reaching kids and being a positive role model.
“It reminds me every day the impact of every decision I make. These kids hang on every word, every move, when they see you. Being a role model is something you don’t take as a necessity. You can make a huge impact on their lives and though I’m impacting them they’re impacting me. Every decision I make there are a lot of eyes that are watching.”
His camp teaches the fundamentals of football, how to play the sport at an early age without getting hurt.
“But more importantly we want to teach them the real-life lessons they can learn: set your goals high, have integrity, have a strong work ethic, listen to your Mom and Dad, get good grades, no drugs, no alcohol.”
The camp hosted 480 campers and Witten’s SCORE Foundation covered the fees for approximately 75 kids so they could attend. Camp director Rod Huber and a selection of area prep and college football coaches lead the camp of kids ranging from 1st to 8th grade.
Campers experienced various stations specializing in the fundamentals of football. All campers received a camp T-shirt and Witten-autographed team photo.
Fourteen lucky Citi card members got to have breakfast with Jason on Sunday before the camp. He hung out with the kids, did a little Q&A and gave every kid a signed football to take home.
Witten just concluded his 12th season with the Cowboys, earning his 10th Pro Bowl selection. He is number two in all-time in receiving yards among tight ends.
Written by Bridget Barry Thias