FCA camp concludes

Published 4:09 pm Thursday, June 23, 2011

In the summer, children of all ages attend different types of camps. From church camp, to sports camps, to band camps, there are many options.
But in what has become a summer tradition for Brewton and East Brewton kids now for six years running, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes four-day camp came to an end Thursday afternoon on the T.R. Miller football field and inside the field house as the Wild Tiger Relay ended with the orange team winning and a final devotion time from T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs. Also with the end of festivities was the naming of campers of the week from huddle groups and the handing out of the Jim Hayes award to a deserving sixth grader in their final camp.
The camp that was held June 20-23 at the T.R. Miller campus is designed to help give children who have completed 1st grade through those who have completed 6th grade an opportunity for a Christian camp environment that balances both athletic competition and character/integrity development with the message of Jesus Christ.
This year’s theme was “Power” and was based on Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The camp, which is staffed by high school athletes and coaches who have a love for athletics and children is ran locally by First Baptist Church youth minister Randy Winton. He had worked a similar camp in Chattanooga, Tenn., for a number of years and after moving to Brewton in 2001 had a vision for the camp here.
“This is a perfect community to do a camp like this,” he said. “Athletics is such a big part of Brewton and its people and the kids who come every year love all aspects of the camp.”
Winton said the camp is two-fold as it gives the kids the opportunity to participate in different sports and learn about the message of Jesus Christ through all aspects of life, but it also gives our teenagers (some who are former FCA Campers) the opportunity to do the right thing and pass that example on to younger kids.
“We have kids who are using gifts they didn’t know they had until they got in a group with sweaty first through sixth graders,” Winton, who points out that the number one goal of the camp is that kids come to know Christ and that he or she is valued and that their lives matter. “When kids are loved and encouraged and see Christ in those around them, they feel safe and enjoy the experience of FCA Camp. Every kids who walks on this campus for camp should leave with, at the very least, that they matter and that there is a Savior who loves them deeply.”
Huddle leaders are assigned to the age groups during the week and serve as coaches to the kids and throughout the week, they are engaged in competitions at six stations played daily on a 15-minute rotation and accumulate points due to winning, losing, or tying.
But the main idea of the camp is that through all the competition and points being accumulated, the most important thing is building character and being an example. At the end of the week, each Huddle Group recognizes someone who has exhibited those characteristics taught by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with an award for being its “Camper of the Week”.
Two years ago, the camp started the Jim Hayes Award for the sixth grader who has been an example of the spirit of FCA and all it stands for over his/her years coming to the Brewton FCA Kids Camp.
In 1988, Hayes attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes sports camp in Black Mountain, N.C. The T.R. Miller football player told his family and friends the camp changed his life. Just two weeks after the camp, Jim was riding his bike in Destin and was killed after he was hit by a car. He was just 16 years old. Jim was the son of Dr. Bob and Ellen Hayes.
The Jim Hayes Award will be given again this year to a sixth-grade camper at the end of the camp. To be eligible for this prestigious award, a sixth grader has to have attended this camp at least three years and exemplified the pillars of being a Christian athlete and what FCA stands for.
FCA has been touching millions of lives since 1954. It has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, middle school and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletes to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA is the largest Christian sports organization in America.
In the conclusion of the camp Thursday, Riggs talked to the campers about being idle and not doing anything.
“More and more we are seeing people who would rather be idle than out doing things so I appreciate all of ya’ll for wanting to get out and do this this week,” Riggs said. “You may know someone who thought about coming to FCA camp and then said they didn’t think they wanted to because it was going to be hot and they stayed at home. It is important to stay active and do things.”
Riggs told the campers that God did not plan on us to be idle.
“Idle means basically doing nothing,” Riggs said. “He intended on us to be active, to do work, and to play and he gave us the abilities to do this and we all have different abilities. You have different abilities than others. I got some new shoes for Father’s Day. My sons gave me some shoes to help me walk for my health. If I do not use them and leave them in my closet, will I get the benefits of them and will my doctor be proud of me? I have to do the walking. Just having the shoes do not make me a walker.”
Riggs gave another example about a bat in the game of baseball.
“I can get an expensive baseball bat and because it was a pretty bat, I left it in my closet because I was proud of it and never used it,” Riggs said. “It would not do me any good and I would not become a good hitter if I never used the bat. You have to be active and do it. We may not all be good at things, and there will always be someone better than us, but we need to get out there and try. The same goes with books and getting a book and never reading it. We would never learn what that book is about if we do not read it. Get out and do something and don’t just sit on the sideline or be afraid of failing.”
God intended the body he gave you to get out and move and do things, Riggs said.
“The Bible is God’s word and we learn a lot from God’s word,” Riggs said. “If we take God’s word and we are not active with it, we do not learn anything. If we leave it on the table and don’t ever read it, God can’t speak to us through His word. While we need to understand the importance of getting out and doing things, we need to do this with our faith. We need to be active and read the Bible and we will get the blessings of it from God. Stay active and most important, be active with what you read and with your body and God will bless you for that.”
Winton said the camp this year’s camp had 72 students and eight different groups and was by far the best camp they have had so far.
“We had great competition, but they encouraged each other,” Winton said. “The spirit of fair play and the spirit of fun were there. It was not perfect, but we just had a lot of great kids.”
Winton said with this being the sixth year, things are starting to run smoothly for the camp.
“We kind of have got down to the way we like to do it and it works really well,” Winton said. “The kids really look forward to the Wild Tiger Relay and we make that a really big deal. It just goes smooth with the great leaders like Greg White who maps out the activities and the relay. We thank coach Riggs not just for coming and closing us out each year but for giving us the run of the facilities like it is ours and he trusts us with it. So we appreciate him and Mrs. Bell for letting us do that and the coaching staff here.”
Winton said the camp is just one of those camps where the kids have so many things that the want to accomplish.
“I probably have had more parents this year than ever tell me they can’t wait to come back next year,” Winton said. “They are tired and falls asleep but they say they want to go back tomorrow. That is what we want. We want them to have a great experience and we want them to learn about God and how much he loves us and to have an important relationship with Him and that is the No. 1 thing.”
Winton said they also want the kids to learn about the greatness of God and how to live that out.
“We have some that have grown up through this camp and come back and be huddle leaders,” Winton said. “They come full-circle and that means the most because maybe their life has changed through this camp or maybe this was one of the seeds we planted and they learned something about God that sparked something and they learned from that maybe two, three, four, or five years down the road they are leading a group and talking to a student who will do the same in five years. If we are doing that, I feel pretty good about this camp. We can say we want 300 kids to show up, but if 50 show up and that happens, Wow, we are doing something right.”
Winton said the town of Brewton is perfect for the camp.
“This is perfect place to do the camp,” Winton said. “The community backs us and we never have a problem.”
Winton said the “Power” theme, students learned everyday a focus of God’s power.
“We learned of the power to trust God, the power to choose good friends, the power to make right decisions, and each day was the power to do something with great devotions,” Winton said. “We have great verses. The kids compete and each sporting event is worth four points for winning, but 10-15 points for saying verses and learning the devotions. We teach them about winning and being a good sport, but it is also about encouraging and being a good person. We want them to care about people. It is fun to watch them carry that out. It just has all been great.”
The Jim Hayes award for 2011 went to Tyler Baxter.
“Tyler Baxter is a terrific young man and is very deserving of the Jim Hayes Award,” Winton said. “He is highly respected by all his friends and is one of those young men who you see continuously putting others first. I think he is a great choice for this award and am proud of him for living his life with character and integrity.”
Campers of the week went to Sam Searcy and Russell Smith from huddle leader Lauren Ward, Anna Kate Brittain and Gibb Roberts from leader Nick Moore, Shelby Evans and O’Neil White from Morgan Hubbard, Miller Hart and Mac Baxter from Elizabeth Althauser, Blake Jernigan and Bracken Pettis from Caleb Dickey’s group, Lyon Jernigan and Payton Baxter from Emily Ann Moore’s group, Clay Land and Wynn Brittain from Amber and Sydney Winton’s group and Hayley Thompson from Trin Miller’s group.

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About Adam Robinson

My name is Adam Robinson and I have been the Sports Editor of the Brewton Standard since September 2007. I cover all the local sports in the Brewton area. I am a 2007 graduate of Troy University with a degree in Print Journalism with a contract in Sports Information. I married Shari Lynn in June of 2007 and we welcomed our first child, Hatlee, in April of 2010.

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