Around 45,000 athletes and coaches across the nation will be participating this year in summer camps organized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Open to boys and girls between the ages of eight and 18, FCA Sports and Team Camps are offered in a variety of sports, ranging from baseball, basketball, football and golf to beach volleyball, cheerleading, karate, lacrosse, surfing and water polo.
Aside from sports training, camp participants, which have more than tripled since 2002, are provided with speakers and opportunities for developing friendships and experiencing life change.
"Life-changing impact has been an integral part of FCA Camps since the first camp in Estes Park, Colo., in 1956," says FCA Camps President and CEO Les Steckel.
"Fifty-two seasons later, FCA Camps are now reaching athletes and coaches throughout America and the world," he added.
Each year since it began, FCA Camps have drawn more youth and spread out to more locations. In 2002, there were only 13,627 camp participants. Last year, there were 46,562.
Furthermore, the number of FCA Camps has grown each year, from the 83 there were in 2002 to the more than 290 there are today – each centered this year around the theme "Inside Out."
"'Inside Out' is about transformation, and it can only start by looking in the heart," says Dan Britton, senior vice president of Ministries for FCA. "As much as you desire to change behavior, it will never stick unless you change the inside. There needs to be a renovation. Before you begin to think about changing the world ... or your teammates, first you need to change. Being an 'Inside Out' Christian is about sacrifice, commitment and surrender."
Camp types currently include power, leadership, sports, coaches, partnership, team, and international camps, which only started two years ago.
Sports, which there are more than 40 to choose from, include everything from baseball, basketball and football to archery, golf and gymnastics.
In addition to its youth camps, FCA also offers camps that focus on leadership and coaches. Leadership Camps are for student-athletes, coaches and volunteers who serve as leaders on their local campuses. These camps focus on teaching practical skills for Christian growth and development as an effective campus leader.
In recalling the past several years he's worked with FCA Camps, Steckel said, "I have witnessed the incredible transformation that takes palace when athletes and coaches give their time, talents and hearts fully to Christ."
"FCA Camp changes lives," he added.
Last year, FCA Camps recorded 4,589 decisions for Christ - up from 3,338 the year before.
On the Web:
More about FCA Camps, including specific types of camps and dates, at www.fcacamps.org.