A huddle in sports are where plays are called and strategies discussed.
Some athletes and cvoaches at Washington High School are reintroducing a different kind of huddle by revitalizing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) after many years of not having an active FCA Huddle.
When asked what he has enjoyed most about FCA, Demon quarterback, point guard and current track team member Luke Turner said, “It is a time where we can practice our faith in school with our peers there to support one another. We don’t have to be afraid to express our faith around each other or throughout the school.”
A Huddle (or on-campus ministry) is a place where student-athletes and coaches have the opportunity to grow spiritually, whether beginning their walk with Jesus Christ or deepening their growing faith.
“You grow in your faith and you can share it with others,” said Josie Tanner, who is currently on the golf team, “You gain other friendships outside of your norm. You get to connect with others and adults.”
The goals of a Huddle are: Fellowship, Outreach and Growth.
The outreach goal is demonstrated by words and deeds to the school and community.
Most recently, Washington FCA students have planned an outreach event. On Sunday, April 14th from 5 p.m.-7 .p.m at the Washington High School Commons, the public is invited to an all-you-can-eat taco supper with drinks and dessert included. Tickets are being sold for $7 in advance and $8 at the door.
Proceeds will help with funding some of the student school lunch accounts that have gone negative due to family financial constraints within the district.
Another significant outreach the students participate in includes fundraising to be able to purchase, wrap and deliver multiple gifts to families and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program. his outreach has been extended each of the past two Christmas seasons.
The fellowship goal is established in several ways, one being through Large Group Huddles. These Huddles meet once a month on Sunday evenings at the high school. During this time, students participate in various large group games, followed by a light snack and either a bible study session or guest speaker. The students also engage in group discussions following the study or speaker.
In addition to Large Group Huddles, Small Group Huddles meet before school a couple of times each month. The Small Group Huddles are more focused on a study directly from the FCA bible. These sessions also serve as planning time for any upcoming events or meetings prior to starting the school day.
“Large Group Huddles on Sunday evenings range from 25-35 students and Small Group Huddles hovers around 15 students,” assistant football coach Kurt Levetzow said.
the goal of growth is developing a balanced Christian life that encourages a growing obedience to Jesus Christ. Examples include participating in Huddles, group discussions, reading the bible, prayer and being bold about expressing their faith among their peers.
Students and coaches do not have all the answers, but are always willing and able to research and find answers that come up during their group time.
“The student leaders are asked to lead by example and mentor their peers, and they’ve done a great job,” assistant football coach Kelly Williams said.
The current student leaders are Cade Hennigan, Luke Turner, Isabel Bailey and Abby Voss.
“FCA has a positive impact on the way you carry yourself on and off the court,” said Evan Horak, who currently runs track for the Demons. “You are no longer playing for yourself, or your team, but also for your heavenly Father.”
Who leads a Huddle? If a Huddle meets on school property as a non-curriculum club, the Huddle must be student-led. This does not preclude an athletic coach from facilitating the meeting. Athletic coaches are present at all Huddles to encourage and assist, but not to lead or dominate leadership.
“Our student leaders have done an outstanding job of organizing, coordinating and leading the various activities,” said assistant football coach Nic Williams.
Who can participate in a Huddle? FCA is targeted at reaching student athletes and coaches. In order to best reach this group through Huddles, participants may be current or former members of recognized school athletic teams. Students and parents who sign up will get text message reminders of upcoming meetings, events and Huddles.
For anyone interested in joining Washington FCA, contact one of the current student leaders or FCA coaches.
“We can show our faith and talk about it without feeling judged,” said Taylor Brinning, who plays on the soccer team. “Also, it’s a fun time to get together with our peers and show our competitive side.”
It is important to note the FCA student athletes and coaches do not claim to be biblical scholars, nor do they have all the answers. They enjoy and see the benefit of promoting and leading a group of like-minded individuals, in safe environments, on their own paths toward developing or deepening their journey with Jesus Christ.
Washington FCA believes in the goal of challenging and changing students’ lives through this on-campus ministry.
“Please join us Sunday, Apr. 14th for the Washington FCA’s taco supper fundraiser at the Washington High School Commons from 5-7 pm with all proceeds going directly toward helping with negative school lunch accounts within the district,” assistant football coach Kurt levetzow said. “That’s not just talking about ‘good works,’ these students are putting their words into action.”