FCA unites student-athletes in faith

Pictured are members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Columbia huddle. (submitted photo)

When Gibault’s Logan Doerr scored the key goal during Friday’s sectional title game against Triad, his achievement came from rigorous training and endurance built through many performances.

Any athlete at the high school level and beyond understands the basics behind this. When an athlete endures, he develops strength. When he practices, he develops technique.

But some Monroe County athletes rely on a more powerful force than their own strength and perseverance, a sentiment best captured in scripture:

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Athletes who come together in Christ indeed believe that godliness should be at the forefront of their lives, and one organization in particular even provides the format for this. Fellowship of Christian Athletes is an international non-profit Christian sports ministry based in Kansas City, Mo.

Pictured, the Dupo Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle was formed in September. (submitted photo)

“To present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church,” FCA’s mission statement reads.

Consequently, the organization’s mission is widespread and even reaches small communities in and around Monroe County through the initiation of huddles. One huddle was founded this fall in Dupo with Dupo Junior High School teacher Micah Corbin as the coach.

According to Corbin, the Dupo huddle consists of 30 junior high and 20 high school students. The two age groups meet separately for events.

The huddle meets once a week, rotating between the age groups — the junior high group meets in Corbin’s classroom and the high school students rotate between the school’s ROTC room and a member’s home. Two main coaches and the occasional volunteer or two run the huddle.

To join the Dupo huddle, contact a high school or junior high officer, Coach Kevin Acra, or Corbin. Visit the huddle Facebook page at facebook.com/dupofca.

While the Dupo huddle is getting its footing, the Columbia FCA huddle has been around for six years. The group consists of about 40 members.

Columbia High School girls soccer head coach and boys soccer assistant coach Jamey Bridges is at the helm of this huddle, with assistance from Elysia Sepich and Andrew Thompson. Students meet every other Sunday at a member’s home or at the school.

“We break into small groups,” he added. “Every other Wednesday I meet with eight FCA leaders and we go over a topic, they then lead that small group at our huddle meetings.”

Bridges said the huddle focuses on raising money and volunteering. For instance, the huddle has hosted events at the elementary schools and also sponsors families at Christmas with childrens toys.

Communications on joining the huddle are done via Twitter and through the school, Bridges said. For more information, go to twitter.com/columbia_fca.

“The FCA program is without a doubt the most rewarding thing to be a part of at Columbia High School,” said student leader Sam Spivey. “When I came into high school, I didn’t have an authentic connection with my religion whatsoever. 

“Freshmen year, that all changed when a great friend of mine invited me to FCA. Fast forward to my junior year, and now I’m the one leading and inviting people to FCA. That I am able to experience kids grow closer and closer to Christ like I did just a few years ago is an irreplaceable reward.”

Gibault Catholic High School also offers a huddle that began in 2014 through former Gibault boys soccer coach Matt Reeb. Gibault head baseball coach Andy Skaer now leads the huddle, which consists of about 20 members.

Meetings take place every other Sunday at a member’s house or Skaer’s home. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 14, the huddle will be hosting a blood drive at the school.

Those interested in joining can contact Skaer at askaer@gibaulthawks.com. For more information on the huddle, go to twitter.com/GibaultFCA.

Four years ago marks the founding of the Valmeyer FCA huddle. Led by Valmeyer High School teacher Nikki Folkerts, the huddle consists of around 15 students.

VHS boys basketball coach Rick Crossin attends meetings and events on occasion. In general, the huddle meets from 7 to 8 p.m. every other Sunday at one of the students’ homes.

“Our regular meetings incorporate three things — food, fellowship and fun,” Folkerts said. “We always have some kind of theme to the meeting that will determine what kind of snacks we have. 

“We spend a few minutes just chatting and playing some kind of game, then we get into Bible study. The student leaders lead the Bible study discussion with little input from me. We also try to do other events two to three times per semester.”

These events range from a back-to-school or end-of-year pool party at a students’ house to a Christmas party and even a dodgeball tournament at an area church.

“Although we’d like to, we do not focus a lot on reaching out to the community,” Folkerts said. “All of our members already serve the community as members of many other clubs at school and as members of their churches. 

“The purpose that FCA fulfills is really to give students a place to learn more about their faith if they want to.”

To join the huddle or for more information, check the FCA event white board at VHS for meeting times and locations or go to facebook.com/ValmeyerFCA/.

In 2015, a huddle formed for interested students at Waterloo High School. Anna Casaleggi is the huddle coach for the approximately 20 members.

According to Casaleggi, five student officers put in a majority of the effort in leading the huddle. 

“I am the one who helps facilitate for the leaders and am the liaison between FCA staff, school, and students,” she explained.

Students meet twice a month — including on the mornings of late start Mondays at WHS and at someone’s home on a weeknight. Go to twitter.com/FcaWaterloo for more information.

“If someone would like to join, they can visit me in the training room after school, or they can talk with one of the officers (Nathan Baum, Alexis Sensel, Ashley Hartman, Many Kraus, or Rachel Patterson),” Casaleggi said.

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