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14th annual Ernie Sims Football, Cheerleading and Track camp teaches invaluable life lessons

Posted at 1:59 AM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 01:59:48-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)  — Former Florida State and NFL first-round draft pick Ernie Sims has one message to spread during his 14th annual Football and Cheerleading camp Friday afternoon at Tom Brown Park.

“Yes, finish with a purpose. Yeah finish with a purpose. We’re going to teach them and stress the skills that’ll help them be successful on and off the field," Sims told ABC 27. "But more so than anything I want them to understand why it’s important to finish. And why you finish with a purpose.”

It’s that same lesson that paved a path for Sims and former Florida State Seminoles Sam McGrew and Leroy Smith to be able to use their platform and give back to the Big Bend.

“You know being a college athlete of the youth look up to you. And so we wanted to keep it going and give back to our communities," said McGrew.

“I knew we would give back and have these camps. Because we had to have someone do it for us," adds Smith. "And then it’s our duty, our responsibility to give back to our communities."

Sims, a native to Tallahassee, McGrew a native to Crawfordville and Smith born and raised in Quincy are all forever bonded to their local communities. And because they want to continue to see them flourish, there’s going to be many years of camps like these to follow.

“That’s one of the things that we as men talk about is how long can we do this? The thing is we’ll do it for as long as we can and eventually pass it off to some younger guys to continue it on," added McGrew.

“It’s all about legacy. You always want to build a legacy, especially as a father. You want to start something and then pass it down to generation, to generation, to generation," says Smith. "Especially if it’s good.”

“It’s 14 years and I was messing around with my little boy and said listen, I want to see this thing for another 14 years," Sims said. "And when I’m long gone I want to see you carry the torch as well of impacting youth in our hometown.”