Westmoreland Baptist Church's Upward Soccer Camp got underway on Monday evening at "Olympic Field" (the site of the former Olympic Pool) at the west end of Ritter Park in Huntington. This sports ministry is still in it's early stages at WBC, but has already touched many lives.
We began Upward Basketball and Cheerleading two years ago, and have seen great growth in the program numbers. We are expecting continued growth this coming year in Basketball. Last year we held an Upward Spring Soccer league which was very successful, but we had a little "hiccup" this year when we were unable to get a leadership team together in time to have a full soccer season this spring. (I'll take the blame for that one). However, we did want to keep our hand in the soccer sports ministry, and we sought to put together a Soccer Camp this summer. I am thankful that Kim Bailey stepped up and said, "I'll lead the camp, and direct the league next spring."
What a blessing! And Kim is not the only "willing worker" in this children's ministry. Her three children (all high school soccer players themselves, are assisting. Jeff and Tara Lockhart are also valuable key people in the work. Jeff directed our first soccer league and was heavily involved in our first basketball season as well. He and Tara have literally spent hundreds of hours in Upward, and they were there again setting up goals, marking off fields, and running coaching stations.
Several of our newer church members have also volunteered for coaching duty, as have some returning helpers. One entire family was present last night, some of them helping for the very first time, setting up, coaching, and doing whatever was needed. For the convenience of the parents and other spectators, several of our older members were present, running a concession stand. The refreshments are sold at low prices, not as a moneymaker, but as a convenience for those who missed dinner to come to the camp. The refreshments are priced just high enough to cover their costs. The amazing thing about our concession crew is that they are all in their 70's and one lady has even passed 80 years of age!
Other church members came out, just to support the program and to be exposed to the wonderful children. The 26 campers enrolled range from Pre- Kindergarten age to 6th grade, and each one of them seemed to have a wonderful evening. They all participated, learned, and heard a devotional message. Each camper receives a camp T - Shirt, water bottle, poster to display their star awards, and will receive their own Soccer Ball on the final night of the camp. However the most important thing the kids will receive will be the Gospel message at break time each evening.