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Basketball Camp Replaces VBS in Indiana Church


New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Ind., partnered with another local church to provide a basketball camp for boys this past August.

 A four-court gymnasium, a college-level basketball coach, and free lunch each day made the “Share the Rock” basketball camp a slam-dunk.

Boys learn basketball skills at “Share the Rock” basketball camp.

Staci Sunderman Sytsma

Dan Voudrie, head basketball coach at Purdue University Calumet, led the teaching of basketball skills and spoke each day about his Christian faith with the 93 boys who participated.

“The coaches really cared about the kids,” said New Life member Nate Triezenberg, 22, one of 12 volunteer assistant coaches. Triezenberg played for a year on the Calvin College basketball team. “It was very fulfilling to work with these kids, many of whom might not normally darken the door of a church,” he said.

The camp, for third- to eighth-graders, is in its second year. “I wanted to be in the camp because I did it last year,” said Garret Lytle, 13. “It was really fun and I made a lot of friends. I improved in my [basketball] skills too.”

Basketball camp has taken the place of vacation Bible school as the congregation’s summer outreach, said Rev. William Sytsma. “Barriers between people in our churches and people in the community have been broken down.”

The boys received a New Testament and school supplies and participated in a worship service at the church, followed by an awards ceremony and picnic. 

But what about the girls?

“We would love to find a coach and churches to partner with us to host a similar camp for girls next summer,” Sytsma said.

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