The Great Coach: Juan Camarotti

Good health begins in childhood.  Physical activity sets lifelong patterns toward wellness, even affecting senior years.

Sports are a positive avenue leading children to personal development in several areas of their lives, involving not just physical health, but also personal development. “Self-esteem, goal-setting, and leadership” rank high in benefits.  These skills are necessary for life. “However, evidence indicates that the quality of coaching is a key factor in maximizing positive effects.” (U.S. Gov Acct Off, 2012)

A great coach encourages, trains, refines and teaches.  He lets a child know that he’s important. 


Coach Juan Camarotti began his coaching life as a young immigrant from Cuba being “coached” by his parents in survival skills.  He arrived in Miami in 1962 at age 11 with only the clothes on his back.  Though he knew no English, his mother put him to work shining shoes and selling newspapers on a corner of LeJeune Road.  His father, a pharmacist in Cuba, became a sugar field worker, a well-digger, and boat cleaner.  He demonstrated what it meant to keep going when life was difficult.

Unafraid of a challenge, Juan took up his father’s model and took on hard jobs to help his family.  He graduated from Florida Atlantic University and began a career of teaching and coaching: football, cross country, ballroom dance, weight lifting and wrestling—beginning some of the first afterschool sports programs for inner city children in Miami.

Coach Camarotti  was named “Teacher of the Year,” “Coach of the Year,” and in 2007 became recognized by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his Lifetime Service to Wrestling.

Coach Camarotti states, “Wrestling being a one-on-one sport and also a team sport, puts a lot of responsibility on each athlete to make the weight prior to each match and to also watch their diet throughout the season.  Going out on the mat individually and do battle with another competitor, at times could be challenging.  Each match could last six minutes or six seconds, and it required hours of practice in order to step on the mat.  I have seen the sense of confidence develop over a period of time in those kids, especially if they start young and wrestle through their senior year.  I have 50-year-olds calling me and telling me how the training I put them through, whether it was morning and afternoon practices or keeping a certain weight, prepared them for the military or other challenging jobs in their adult life.”

Coach’s philosophy was simple, “sports make school fun.”  He helped many teens finish an education they otherwise would have left behind.

Coach Camarotti adds, “I always felt that after school programs were the best dropout prevention. Most of the kids I coached were from the inner city, and a lot of them wanted to wrestle after football season was over, especially when we were winning.  I also took them home and at times fed them; (we had our sports banquets at my mother's house), and I took them to the hospital when there was a need.  To me, they were my kids.  I kept them for three hours after school; when they got home they were too tired to get into trouble.”

Coach Camarotti is a highly skilled coach, teaching students of every level that they too can succeed, whether on a wrestling mat or the dance floor.  And, he has not stopped coaching. He is continuing what his mother and father modeled for him.

Today, Coach Camarotti leads ballroom dance instruction for adults at Craig’s Dance Studio in Jensen Beach.  From the hustle to the tango, he lives a life devoted to helping others get fit, stay in shape and have fun. You may reach Coach Camarotti at 772-380-2843.

© 2017 "Hometown Heroes"  Kelly Jadon  

Social Media: Masquerading as Teen Friendships

In the world of teens there are friends and there are online “friends.”  Sometimes it’s difficult for a teen to break away from the social media friends, even for a short time.  That’s not normal.

Friends through social media play an important role in the life of today’s youth.   Social media affects their identities, their outlook on life and competes well for their attention.  What used to be developed through community, faith and relationships is being replaced by access to technology.  Teens are being exposed to subject matter which was once unheard of outside an XXX-rated movie, nasty personal attacks and bullying. 

None of this has been good for today’s youth.

Darred Williams, Youth Ministry Pastor at Morningside Church in Port St. Lucie is a local expert on the problems associated with social media and youth.

Darrell Williams

Darrell Williams

Pastor Williams states, “Society teaches that ‘You have to have the iPhone.  No one should be without one.’  It’s become an addiction.”

Second, he says, “There is an over access to social media that never shuts off.  Students are inundated with information, most of it negative.  The negative media is discouraging, and the student believes, ‘That’s how I am.’ Unwanted. Unloved. Suicidal. “

“Positive media that should be encouraging really isn’t.  This leaves a student thinking, ‘I’ll never be that way.’ Glamorous. Beautiful. Wealthy. Important.”

“Both messages are negative.”

Pastor Williams continues, “One million shallow ‘friends’ doesn’t equate with one deep relationship.  Relationship is important to youth.  They desire it, chase after it, but it cannot be found with social media.  It is found with their mother, their father, and God.   Social media is just imitation.”

Pastor Williams has a few secrets about how to communicate effectively with teens.  He regularly speaks on this topic in both public and private schools to both students and parents.

“Share your experience,” Williams advises.  “Don’t keep what you went through and the mistakes you made a secret.  Your teens will learn from you and avoid some of your mistakes.”

“Next, assist rather than direct.  Ask your teen, ‘What can I do to help you?’  They do not like to be directed.”

“Third, be transparent.  Teens feel that parents don’t understand them, though they do.  They need to learn the values of sacrifice and empathy.”

“Last, it’s important to remember that everyone has something to offer a teen.  What’s necessary is relationship.”

Pastor Darred Williams heads up “Underground Youth,” where he emphasizes raising teens to be prepared adults in their community. He holds a masters in Ministry Leadership from Southeastern University where he is currently working on a doctorate in Educational Leadership.  He may be reached at Morningside Church 772.335.5166 or online at

© 2017 "Hometown Heroes"  Kelly Jadon