BUTTE — A huge turnout showed up at Naranche Stadium Friday for Colt Anderson’s second annual Dream Big Montana skills camp. This year’s event carried over the same message as last year’s: to dream big and always chase after your goals.
“Colt’s foundation really helps that out, but to also have a bunch of these guys here that have played and were these little kids at one point in time was a blast to give back and have fun,” said Missoula native and former NFL linebacker Jordan Tripp.
For many of the NFL players at the camp, it was that kind of message that helped them realize their potential early on in their careers.
“The whole theme of this weekend is to dream big, and I remember as a kid Joel Dreessen, who grew up in my hometown and played in the league for nine years, I remember looking up to him and saying, ‘If he can get out of this town and go and play in the NFL and achieve great things, you know, why not me?'” said Tampa Bay center Ryan Jensen. “That’s one thing out of this weekend for these kids, that if they can walk away with that, that’d be perfect.”
Alongside chasing dreams and working hard comes another important life lesson: simply having fun.
“Really fun. Just getting to know everybody, learning new skills and learning more stuff about what you can do,” said camper Cooper Decker.
As a Butte native, Anderson made sure to bring back some Butte athletes who can help share how chasing your dreams and working hard can pay off.
“For me, I just love the message. I think when I reflect back on my career, it was really just, I want to be good at something, and I worked hard and I was dedicated to it,” said Butte native and Big Sky Conference track and field champion Erika McLeod. “I think just that message that any dream you have is so feasible and if you’re willing to work for it … you’re going to want to do.”
“Being able to put on this event for Butte and the community and surrounding area and really the state of Montana is awesome,” added Anderson.
It’s the Butte sense of community that draws these athletes to the Mining City to donate their time, make new friends and support a great cause.
“This is unbelievable. I came to Butte for my first time last year and I fell in love with the city, and it’s great to be back,” said Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Conor McDermott. “And to see the growth of Colt’s organization and the camp and the kids having fun, the multiplicity of the kids joining again, is just an awesome experience. I’m happy to be a part of it.”