Christian camp Fun and Freedom continues to develop with religion, sports activities |

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A imaginative and prescient that grew from a love for God and sports activities is constant to develop annually.

Fun and Freedom, a Christian-based nonprofit, held its annual four-day camp, which wraps up Friday in Springdale. . In its first 12 months in 2009, the camp had 54 campers. This 12 months, the depend grew to 153 campers and 150 counselors. The camp has averaged 100 campers annually, stated Penny Houston, camp administrator and one of many board of administrators.

“This year was the earliest and quickest kids registered for the camp. We have had a waitlist the last couple years,” Houston stated.

A camp was not held for the primary time in 11 years due to covid in 2020. Houston stated the absence of the camp made for extra pleasure the next 12 months.

There are 12 squads break up up by six women and 6 boys. The groups take part in numerous sports activities actions every day, comparable to basketball, volleyball, golf, pickleball, handball and extra.

The nonprofit was based by the late Deeni Riddle in 2003 out of her want to offer a Christian youth sports activities group that mixed her love of kids, sports activities and God.

Riddle served because the bodily schooling instructor at Allegheny Valley School District for 30 years and coached the highschool women basketball group and collegiate girls’s basketball groups.

She realized from faculty athletes that they felt an excessive amount of stress attempting to win and play, stated Lorie Sakala, sports activities director and one other board member.

“Fun and Freedom was developed to give kids a chance to have the fun and freedom to enjoy their sports,” she stated.

An concept to carry a day camp was prompted when camp director Ian McCutcheon pitched the thought after attending a camp in Boswell. His mother and father, David and Jeannine, would assist him in bringing the imaginative and prescient to life. He stated it was cool to see one thing he created proceed to evolve over time.

“It invests in the kids and helps the community,” McCutcheon stated.

The board of administrators described the annual camp as a neighborhood affair with neighbors and pals providing assist, together with offering areas at their houses for Bible research.

“It is exciting to see God’s work and campers coming through the camp to become leaders,” Sakala stated.

Lynn Rodden, one of many camp nurses, provided area in her storage for a research to be held. She has helped the nonprofit since 2009.

“It’s a lot of fun to hear laughter and seeing the kids. Everyone is happy to see them. It’s a great community event,” Rodden stated.

Joshua Hull, a Bible research instructor, works at Riverside Community Church, the place the McCutcheons recruited him for assist.

“The kids are incredible. I learn so much,” he stated. “To the see the excitement and passion to be involved is cool.”

Many of the advisors began out as campers earlier than assuming their management roles.

Ethan Winkler is a senior counselor on the camp. The 16-year-old remembers being concerned with Fun and Freedom since he was 4. He participated in its basketball camp and caught wind of the day camp by way of it.

He stated changing into a counselor has allowed him to place himself within the youngsters’ sneakers, understanding how arduous it should have been holding observe of him when he was their age.

He enjoys having the ability to make a distinction within the youngsters’ days. They more than likely have been trying to get out of the home and have some enjoyable, Winkler stated.

“I love seeing the kids happy and making their day,” he stated.

Morgan Fitzgerald has been a senior coach the previous two years. The 18-year-old stated the most effective half about camp is having the ability to relive being a child once more.

“It is a lot of fun, and I enjoy being in younger kids’ lives and seeing I can have a big impact on their lives,” Fitzgerald stated.

Returning campers benefit from the optimistic and enjoyable environment the camp gives.

Nico Bonidie, 12, of Ellwood City stated he realized he was much more athletic than he thought.

Camille Swink, 12, of Springdale stated the camp impressed her to pursue taking part in basketball as a result of it allowed her to seek out out that she was good at it. She encourages anybody who has not tried out the camp to enroll subsequent 12 months.

“Kids don’t know what they’re missing out on,” she stated.

Tanisha Thomas is a Tribune-Review employees author. You can contact Tanisha at 412-480-7306, [email protected] or through Twitter .

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