Guest Blog Post from Carolinda Belville
Upward Basketball and Cheer has been a part of winter Saturdays at Bethel IUMC since 2007. Sarah DeWees brought it to Bethel after attending a game at another church. She says " I think the aspect of Upward that hooked me was the relationships the coaches had formed with the kids and how they made each child feel loved and that they belonged as they handed out the stars and talked about why the child had earned that particular one." The various colored stars are given to the players for best offense, defense, effort, sportsmanship, and most Christ-like. This is the coaching model Upward Sports uses to achieve their mission of 'Promoting the discovery of Jesus through sports'.
It takes many volunteers, all working TOGETHER, to make each season function well. Besides the obvious coaches and referees, there are other less visible tasks to complete. Peg Teater has served as a greeter for several years and she says " My husband became a Christian later in life, the only early Christian training was vacation Bible school!!
Therefore I always try to volunteer or sponsor a child because it works. Besides God Loves Children and what’s better than laughter and playing basketball. "
The Youth of Bethel have one of the most important parts of Upward - running the concession stand! Lindsay McPhail was in charge of the stand the last 2 years. She says "I worked the concession stand to help with something that I grew up looking forward to after the games and loved being able to watch the kids enjoy something as much as I did when I was their age. It also gave the youth the opportunity to serve the church in a fun way and enjoy extra time spent with the other youth."
Jerry Behling helps out with cleaning after the games as we transform the FLC and classrooms back into Sunday-ready condition. He says " I am enthused to support this program. So many children have experienced this source to mature physically, socially, and spiritually. It also is wonderful that many people from the church pitch in to coach, referee, teach from the Bible, and organize. It makes me proud to be a member of Bethel IUM Church."
This past winter we had 142 boys and girls grades K-6 participating. Imagine how many children in the community have participated in 14 seasons! Unfortunately we have had to cancel the 2021 season due to Covid-19. But working TOGETHER we will once again in 2022 bring the discovery of Jesus to the children in our area using Upward Basketball and Cheerleading.