Ray Jacobs will have some real-world stories to tell when speaking to Cree youth in remote central Quebec this week.
The Renegades defensive lineman made the trek north to the community of Mistissini with four teammates, along with coaches Joe Paopao and Kani Kauahi for the second Cree Nation Renegades all-star football camp.
Linebacker Jason Kralt, receiver David Azzi and defensive rookies Adrian Baird and Martin Gagnon will also be there through Thursday to help the coaches work with 400 kids in the community, located some 800 km north of Ottawa.
Jacobs has battled drug and alcohol problems, and recently served a suspension imposed by Paopao after missing practice.
"I looked on the sign-up list and saw his name, and I thought that it was really good for him that he'd do this," Paopao said yesterday.
"You know, Ray is a real articulate guy. He's not your normal football player."
The coaches and players who travelled to Mistissini will each be asked to speak to the kids at the end of the camp sessions about having hope in life, and the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
The camp is organized by Ottawa native and former Rough Riders player Gord Hudson. Last August, the community of Mistissini rallied behind the camp and treated Paopao and his staff like royalty.
Mistissini is an isolated community, about an hour's drive north of Chibougamau, the largest town in the area. Drug and solvent abuse is a problem in Mistissini, as is a high dropout rate in school.
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