Monday, Dec 9, 2013
Camp Adventures: Fellowship of Christian Athletes
CARBONDALE -- Waving, jumping and fist pumping are just some of the ways campers are exercising at the Southern Illinois F.C.A. Power Camp. For three days nearly 200 kids in fifth through eighth grades are learning lessons about life, Jesus Christ and sports.
"I got involved originally because Fellowship of Christian Athletes is what changed my life when I was a freshman coming into college," says SIUC swimmer and F.C.A. intern Jessica Anderson.
Anderson says it can be challenge to talk to kids about Jesus.
"It's so serious but then when you throw sport in there and you combine the two, they're a lot more receptive to it," says Anderson.
The mornings begin with worship music, and a short message from the camp chaplain and thenthey separate into huddle groups for discussion.
"Our huddle leaders do a great job of mixing the two and kind of breaking that barrier between the serious side of Christianity and faith and the competitive fun side of sport," says Anderson.
This years theme is called "In the Zone", which focuses on teamwork and knowing your purpose.
"God's plan for them is expansive and it includes sport, it includes their families, it includes, really right at the core, who you were made to be," says Southern Illinois F.C.A. Representative, Roger Lipe.
Lipe describes the camp as three days of perspiration and inspiration.
After morning worship, the athletes are ready to sweat.
During their sports clinics the campers gain knowledge and training in the sport of their choice. There are eight different sports to choose from.
"It's just exciting to watch the kids combine two worlds that aren't always combined. The world of Christianity and Jesus and the world of sport," says Anderson.
"They kind of work hand and glove of helping kids get a great experience in the summertime and then we send them back into the schools where they themselves are dynamic leaders of their groups in schools," says Lipe.
The message for most of these campers is loud and clear.
"They can be a follower of Jesus and they can be a fierce athlete at the same time," says Anderson.
Southern Illinois F.C.A. offers four Power Camps each summer in Jackson, Union, Perry and Massac counties. They are free to attend.
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