For more than a decade the Covenant Community Church Soccer Camp has offered an opportunity for boys and girls in the Ohio Valley to work out both physically and spiritually, learning about both soccer and Jesus Christ in a safe, fun atmosphere.
"It's kind of a vacation Bible school with a twist," co-founder Chad Adams said. "We do an hour of soccer and then we do some songs, a funny skit and we end each night by showing a story from the Bible."
Adams said the idea for the camp came from the wealth of enthusiasm for soccer at the church, commonly known as "C3," from both children and adult volunteers. Since then the idea has flourished annually, he said, with more than 3,500 children participating so far.
Photos by Sarah Harmon
Alexander Markan, 4, of Wheeling makes a shot at the goal at 2013 C3 Soccer Camp at The Linsly School.
Abby Thomas, 4, of Wheeling gets ready to make a kick toward the goal during the 2013 C3 Soccer Camp at The Linsly School.
This year's class will number about 400, with 200 volunteers to teach them. Adams credited the volunteers with much of the camp's success.
"The community's received it really well," Adams said. "We have over 200 volunteers."
Because the camps are so well-staffed with volunteers, Adams said each child is able to receive personalized, age-appropriate guidance in their training. Younger students learn the basics, with more sophisticated details as age increases.
This year's program runs from Sunday through June 18 at the Linsly School in Wheeling. It is free to boys and girls 4-10 years old. Each night's activities start at 5:45 p.m., with pick-up at 7:45 p.m. The week will conclude with Soccer Sunday at C3 on at 10 a.m. June 22. Campers there will take part in a sing-along and other children's programming.
After the service comes the free Kids' Fun Fest which includes inflatables, bouncing pit, rock climbing, face painting and more.
Looking back, Adams said administrators take extra care to make it as enjoyable and high-quality as possible, because for some children it may be their only chance.
"For a good portion of our campers, this is the only camp they get to go to because it's free," Adams said.
For more information, call Jay Adams at 304-312-0111.