Anna Coates Volunteers at Camp

Hey! It’s Anna Coates, personal trainer at Creative Therapeutics. I recently returned from FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) camp in Gibson City, Illinois–my hometown in central Illinois. For the last eight years during the last week of June, I have volunteered at this camp for middle school-aged kids (5th-8th grade). FCA focuses on building stronger Christians through sports, helping students become better athletes. This year we had a little more than 100 middle school campers and 40 high school huddle leaders. I’ve played emcee for the last six years of camp. As the emcee, I bring lots of energy and fun to camp while keeping the chaos somewhat organized. I also help out with tennis component, since I played in high school. Each camper picks a sport they want to focus on and then we send them to their sports clinics for part of the day.

Each 9:00-3:00 day means fun and games, worship, and a chapel time with a speaker who relates each day’s theme to the overall camp theme. This year the theme was STRONG; daily themes were then faith strong, fight strong, family strong, and finish strong. Then campers are sent to the sport clinics of their choice; tennis, cheerleading, soccer, football, baseball, softball, boys or girls basketball, or volleyball. Afterward, we meet back at the local middle school, where campers are split into smaller groups of boys and girls at their grade level; 5th and 6th grader or 7th and 8th graders. Each huddle discusses the theme of the day, with huddle leaders asking campers questions to prompt discussions about how to apply what they learned.  After lunch, there’s a Chalk Talk, where athletes or local leaders come in and share their testimony about how their faith informs their lives. Then it’s time for competition! Games include capture the flag, dodge ball, kick ball, gator ball, trash can football, and Quidditch (I help with quidditch since I played it in college). At the end of the day we have an open time where campers and huddle leaders can give shout outs to people who did an act of kindness or did something that was good outside of their comfort zone. We call them “at-a-way’s,” as in “that-a-way, good job!” One of the campers’ favorite parts of the day is called “huddle leader hot seat,” where campers vote for a huddle leader to come up (one high school age boy and girl) for an open question/answer session. As emcee, I mediate the conversation and can veto questions if things get a little too silly. Favorite questions to ask include: “What’s your favorite dance move? And show it.“ “Who’s your celebrity crush?“ “What’s your favorite FCA memory?“ “What’s your most embarrassing story?” “When did you know you’d been called to the faith?”

FCA Camp is always a blast, and I’m so blessed to work in a place that values community and was willing to let me go for a week! Thanks, Creative Therapeutics!

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