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Providence Bible Sports Camp offers athletic, spiritual training

For the third year, Providence Bible Church is hosting a team from Uncharted Waters Sports Ministry (UW) to run a sports camp at the church.

The more than 100 campers expected to participate will learn not only the fundamentals of basketball, flag football, cheerleading and soccer, but they will also receive spiritual instruction from the coaches who lead them. There is even a special segment for 4- and 5-year-old campers to learn the fundamentals of motion, rhythm and balance.

To coincide with the summer Olympics in London, the theme of this year's camp is: “Beyond the Gold.”

“UW is one of the ministries we support as a church and one of our members, Ryan Van Hoven, is a missionary there,” said Sam Kang, director of music and youth for PBC.

“Although he spends a lot of time training others to go out to churches, this year he will actually be leading a team here.”

Uncharted Waters Sports Ministry is based in Colorado Springs. It is in its 15th year of partnering with local churches to put on outreach sports camps, both in the United States and in foreign countries such as Haiti and Mexico.

“The coaches (coming to Culpeper) are a collection of athletes from Indiana, California and Virginia,” Van Hoven wrote in an e-mail. “UW's passion is a mix of seeing kids grow both in their relationship with Christ and their skill in their sport of choice.

“However, one of the main focuses is also to provide a safe place to have fun and be active.”

The camp mixes instructional training with Bible study time and high energy skits and singing.

“One of our goals is to show kids how scripture relates to real life,” said Howie Holmes, pastor/teacher at PBC. “The coaches are all Christians who are active or former college athletes. They receive special training by UW as well. For many of the students, this is what they will do with their summers for five or six years.”

One of those leaders is Lindsay Brimer Paris. She and her husband Joe work at Peoria (Ill.) Christian School during the school year. Lindsay has been a head coach at camps for a number of years and taught at the PBC camp with Joe two years ago.

“UW has completely changed my view of ministry,” she wrote in an e-mail. “I've truly learned the meaning of using your gifts and talents to bring God glory. I never knew that my love for kids and sports could be combined together to tell kids about Jesus.

“I think that parents should send their kids to sports camp because while they are there the kids will get quality, basic sports instruction, principles and truths to live out each day and also Bible stories and ways they can apply those stories to their lives.”

Some of the sports have age limits. Basketball and flag football are for campers who are at least 8 years old. Soccer and cheerleading campers must be at least six years of age.

“We offer these sports because they seem to have the most general interest,” said Holmes. “UW added flag football because they received a lot of requests for it.

“We chose UW to run the camp because there is something to be said for having a set curriculum and people trained to properly present it. The camp is high-energy and lots of fun. The young kids relate to the college-age leaders. As a small church this is a good way to present a quality program.”

Amanda Rider graduated from Liberty University this spring. She is from Michigan, but helped coach at last year's UW camp at PBC.

“It is an opportunity to invest in kids,” wrote Rider in an e-mail. “I could not think of a better way to spend my summers than working with kids.”

Kellyn Lovell, from Scranton, Pa., also coached at the PBC camp last summer.

“I woke up each morning during the summer and and was in awe that my 'job' was to go teach precious little ones sports and Jesus,” she wrote in an -e-mail. “I go into every summer thinking that I am going to make a huge impact in the lives of the kids I coach – and I hope that I do – but after leading over 30 sports camps, I am confident that the camps have impacted my life as well, whether it is from other coaches, the incredible volunteers we meet in every church or the families that so sacrificially host us.

“I love the concept of sports camp! I wish I could have gone as a kid!

Sports Camp run by Uncharted Waters Sports Ministry
Where: Providence Bible Church, 17211 Green Corner Road
When: June 25 to 29 from 4:30 to 8:15 p.m.
Cost: $25 per camper. Each camper receives a camp T-shirt, a daily snack and take home Bible studies
Ages: 4 through 12
Sports taught: Basketball, cheerleading, flag football and soccer
Registration forms: Providencebible.org
E-mail: Sportscamp@providencebible.org with questions
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