By Susan Schulz
There are a few startling statistics that reveal the need for a positive outlet and mentors to support our teens.
- 40 percent of high school students drink alcohol, according to www.responsibility.org.
- Each day in the United States, more than 5,000 young men and women in grades 7-12 attempt suicide, according to The Parent Resource Program: The Jason Foundation prp.jasonfoundation.com.
- Two out of 10 American girls will get pregnant, at least once, before age 20, according to the cdc.gov.
Fellowship of Christians Athletes (FCA) meets the challenge by providing leadership and guidance to thousands of students and coaches in Cherokee County.
“If I had to sum up my experience serving the coaches and athletes of Cherokee County in one word, it would be impact. The impact of a coach to teach and equip athletes to better themselves. The impact of a teammate to encourage and stir passion in a locker room. The impact of a friend that loves and gives selflessly to another during times of great heartache. The impact of a Savior who meets us where we are, but won’t leave us the same. This impact inspires me to challenge others to dream big, work hard and to honor God,” said Jimmy Ratliff, FCA area representative.
Expanding rapidly around the world, FCA International is serving in 60 countries with 133 leaders and countless volunteers who spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all corners of the globe. Bill Queen, the area director for Cherokee County has been faithfully serving our community’s athletes and coaches for a decade.
“I love what I do and am grateful God is still in the life-changing business,” Queen said.
He beams when he talks about building relationships and helping those he ministers to through many of life’s challenges. He knows, too well, how tough things can get. He lost his first wife to a rare form of bone cancer soon after taking the job with FCA. He has since remarried Heather and become a proud grandfather.
There are four main areas in which Queen and his team serve Cherokee County. First, all of our high schools and middle schools have FCA meetings, which are called Huddles, before school starts. Second, they focus on encouraging and investing in coaches. Third, they support the athletes, not just school teams, but also youth, travel ball and recreational leagues. And fourth, they offer amazing multi-sport summer camps.
One of Sequoyah High School’s golfers, Thomas Brumbeloe, attended FCA Sea Island Golf Camp with campers from all over the Eastern United States. He met kids from Georgia, Maine, Texas and Florida. While there, Brumbeloe participated in a tournament and was named the Boys’ Champion of the golf camp.
“This golf camp exceeded my expectations. I would love to go again,” he said.
Are you interested in putting your heart and soul into the athletes and coaches in our county? Here are a few ways to get involved with FCA: at least 50 character coaches are needed to serve students athletes, home team and board member positions also need to be filled. Financial contributions are always welcome.