Football Camp Named for Former St. Joseph Star Brings North Jersey Community Together

It’s a football camp with a message that goes beyond the sidelines.

The CY99 camp/showcase is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Regional. In addition to the standard shuttle run drill and 40-yard dash for the competitors to go through, Kesnel Menard wants the campers to also get lessons on safety.

That’s the least he could do to honor his younger brother Cyrenius, “Cy” to everyone, who died in a Route 17 car crash in May of 2022 while not wearing a seat belt. The second-year camp is named in his honor. Cy was a standout defensive tackle at St. Joe’s before graduating in 2021.

“The biggest thing for me is I have the Saddle River police department and the head of the Hackensack Hospital head trauma department to come and deliver a message to the kids,” Kesnel Menard said. “I do that because I know Cy wanted to go into the medical field to change peoples’ lives. Cy was always that kid looking to give kids opportunities and that’s why I know he’d want me to throw this camp.”

Kesnel Menard has been able to bring in a large section of the North Jersey football community to work at the camp, including former Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Terrence Fede, current New England Patriots linebacker Joe Giles-Harris, and former Jacksonville and Washington defensive back Josh Evans.

NFL veterans Devin and Jason McCourty had a schedule conflict and can’t be there in person this year (they were there last year) but did send over some of their personal memorabilia to be raffled off.

“I see this camp going for years and years, because some of the guys Cy played with, like Audric [Estime] will be in the NFL for a while,” Kesnel Menard said. “Last year, I had three colleges coming, but this year I have six, seven, so I can see it growing.”

May is an unusual time for a football showcase − FBS teams aren’t allowed to be there, since it’s a blackout recruiting period − but Kesnel looks at what happened with Cy, who was just starting his college football career at Sacred Heart, and sees this as an opportunity for kids to prove they belong. He said this year, he expects more than 100 kids to participate. The rain date is Sunday, May 19.

“Division II is the new Division I,” Kesnel Menard said. “With the transfer portal, more and more kids just want to get a shot and show what they can do. I just wanted to have a camp that gives kids an opportunity to get in front of coaches.”

Kesnel Menard graduated from St. Joe’s in 2008. He’s convinced Cy was on his way to doing big things in football and in life before the accident. This camp is his way of helping the next kid in line and keeping Cy’s name alive.

“I always told Cy since he was 4, 5 years old that he was destined to do big things,” Kesnel said.

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