Bethany College, Hepburn, Sask., set up the first of four weeks of sports camp July 8–12 with Elite Volleyball Camp.
Derek Zacharias, known for his 19 years of coaching experience in high school and competitive club volleyball, came back as head coach. Three times a day, the athletes participated in skill sessions he designed for those who already excel at the game in order to push the players even further in their skills.
Of course, it wasn’t all hard work for the 36 athletes (Grades 9-12) and 10 coaches. Program director, Sarah Braun brought fun, fresh ideas to the camp by introducing an ’80s theme night with Minute-to-Win-It, and a formal awards banquet, and Coach Trivia Time. Teams of campers gained points for participation, skill, attitude, and team spirit. A final an all-camp tournament ended in a neck-in-neck final, resulting in “The Tenacious Turtles and the Sloth” snagging victory from “The Mennonite Mafia” who had been in the lead for the majority of the week. They also won the grand prize for receiving the most cumulative points, showing that “slow and steady” was the way to win this race!
This year’s theme for all of the Sports Camps is Sacrifice, a theme created to mix sports with issues of real life and faith. Guest speakers Jesse Nokinsky, Dani Klassen, Leanne Schellenberg, and Greg Klassen wove this theme throughout each day’s Courtside Chapel, relating true-life stories of faith together with their experience as athletes. Each session fed off the others to create a cohesive picture of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, capped off with a challenge for campers to commit difficult areas in their lives to Jesus, the one who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Campers were also treated to hearing the coaches talk openly about their life stories in the daily hour of Coaches Corner. Each day, new stories emerged of how God had been working in their lives and how sacrifice had played a positive role in their faith journey. For one athlete these testimonies were the most important part Bethany sports camp: “Seeing the strength that it takes to share honestly what things have gone on in their lives…is more important than the volleyball part…. Their strength in sharing has really spoken to me.”
After this first week, campers depart not only with having gained more skill and a better understanding of the game, but also having been challenged to think about their own faith walk. Upcoming weeks will host Attack Volleyball Camp and On the Pitch Soccer Camp.
—Amy Thiessen, summer recruiter for Bethany College
Photos by Andrew Wilson, summer recruiter