‘The Way FCA Brings God and Sports Together Is Awesome’
Nearly 1,000 Participants at Fellowship of Christian Athletes Pennsylvania Camp Learn the Plan God Has for Their Lives as They Sharpen Their Sports Skills and Strengthen Their Relationship with Christ
(EDITOR’S NOTE: First in a two-part series on what God is doing at Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camps this summer.)
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Across the country and around the world this summer, the lives of coaches, athletes and entire teams are being changed through more than 700 Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) Camps.
One such Camp in early July at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania was just one example of what God is doing at FCA Camps.
“God is doing an incredible work through FCA Camps all over the country,” said Chris Rich, Vice President of Field Ministry for the Mid-Atlantic Region. “We have seen coaches and athletes alike come face to face with Gospel truth and be transformed! As we see lives changed, we are sending out a bold generation of young athletes ready to be catalysts for change in the sports community. Coming out of Camp season, the rallying cry is the same, LET’S GO!”
Rich also reported that this year’s attendance at the FCA Camp at Kutztown topped 540 athletes, with about 900 total in attendance including coaches, staff, Huddle leaders, speakers and volunteers. Participants hailed from 14 states to sharpen their skills in several sports, such as tennis, volleyball, football, softball, and track and field, among others.
A popular sport at the Kutztown camp is basketball, both for boys and girls. Maryam is a physical education teacher in a poor school district in Syracuse and coaches four sports. For the past six years, she and her fellow coaches have taken two busloads of athletes to the Kutztown Camp, many on scholarship or there thanks to donations. She says the impact of the Camp on the athletes she coaches is “priceless.”
“To get out of the city in the summer for a week is priceless,” Maryam said. “You can’t put a price on that.”
Even students she took to FCA Camp her first year still want to go back and volunteer.
“Even if they never get the chance to go again, it’s part of their life forever.”
On the boys’ side of the basketball court, Toki, 24, is in his third year as a Huddle leader at the FCA Camp at Kutztown. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he was invited to the Pennsylvania Camp by a friend.
“I saw what happened and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said.
Through FCA, said Toki, campers meet new people and discover they have commonality in basketball, or other sports, no matter what their backgrounds may be. FCA Huddle leaders then remind the athletes that they not only have basketball in common but have their Creator in common as well.
“Before I got saved, I didn’t see how that was relatable—that God was here and sports were here,” Toki said. “But the way FCA brings that together is awesome.”
D.J., 19, a first-time FCA Huddle leader from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, said the aspect that has stayed with him from his FCA Camp experience was witnessing young athletes being loved, discipled and changed by the Holy Spirit.
“God starts to move, and kids’ hearts open up more—what’s on their mind and what it means to live as a Christian,” D.J. said. “It’s the first time they’ve been loved by someone who is godly. Their Huddle Leader still loves them no matter what they do.”
Jasmine, a high school soccer standout from Philadelphia, has also learned more about her relationship with Christ through her Huddle leader. This summer was her second year at the FCA Kutztown Camp to sharpen her soccer skills.
Last summer during FCA Camp, Jasmine was in the midst of family problems. She told her friends and family she was a Christian, but knew she wasn’t giving enough time and attention to her relationship with Christ. After realizing—and even being upset with herself—she was cheating God out of her time, she turned her attention to a real relationship with Him.
“I can keep motivated to still have God in my life no matter how hard things get,” Jasmin said.
The talented 16-year-old already plays for an 18- to 19-year-old travel team and says FCA Camp keeps her motivated and focused, not only on soccer but on Jesus as well. Jasmine’s goal is to play soccer in college—Duke is her dream—but when self-doubt creeps in as a result of the competitive nature of women’s soccer, she knows she is grounded in Christ because of her time at FCA Camps.
“He gave me the talent to play soccer,” she said, “and I can worship Him through soccer.”
Like the participants at the FCA Camp in Kutztown, tens of thousands of Camp participants are focusing on the ministry theme of “Let’s Go,” based on the Bible verses from Matthew 28:18-20. Meant to be said with emphasis, “Let’s Go” is not only the rally cry for many athletes, coaches and teams, but it also should be the goal of Christians when they consider Christ’s call to the Great Commission.
This summer, upwards of 100,000 campers will participate in well over 700 FCA Camps in almost every state in the nation and in 50 countries for a time of “inspiration and perspiration.” FCA Camps take the best attributes of an athletic-focused camp and a spiritual-focused camp and combines them into an athletic/spiritual experience like none other. FCA Camps remove athletes and coaches from the routine of their sport, friends, co-workers and community, and place them into an exciting, healthy, athletic environment that allows them to pursue their passion for sport and clearly see and hear Christ’s passion for them.
Six different types of Camps exist where competitors can reach their potential through comprehensive athletic, spiritual and leadership training, including Sports Camps (multi-sport and sport-specific camps), Leadership Camps (developing athletes and coaches to be leaders), Coaches Camps (designed to minister, equip and encourage); Team Camps (to come together to compete); Power Camps (typically for athletes 8-12 years of age); and Partnership Camps (FCA partners with some of the best organizations).
Learn more about Pennsylvania FCA here.
View the media page for FCA here. For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.