Sports have the power to bring people together in a way that few other activities can. They transcend language, class, race, and almost every other barrier.
With more than eight million high school students participating in athletics each year, there is a great opportunity to cultivate communities committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason that A-1 Self Storage and the Caster Family are proud to support the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
For more than 60 years, the FCA has united thousands of student athletes and equipped them with the skills and knowledge necessary to spread the love of Christ in their communities.
Jordan Dietze, Multiarea Director for San Diego County, first started working with the FCA 6 years ago as an Area Representative ministering to local high school and middle school students. He has seen firsthand how the FCA empowers student athletes to use their platform.
“We come alongside students and encourage them and say, ‘you’re 15,16,17 years old and you have a tremendous opportunity not just as a student, but as an athlete, to really be someone who is a light on your campus and can really affect change through your influence.’ We get them excited about that and get them thinking about the difference they can make at their school,” Jordan said. “As a highschool student, a lot of times you’re excited, but you’re ill-equipped to actually carry out a vision, so we come along and show them what has been successful at other schools.”
By building relationships with students, coaches, administrators, parents, and other organizations who want the gospel present on campus, Jordan personally helped to organize dozens of “Huddles” - campus clubs where student athletes organize and build supportive communities where they can grow their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.
The FCA works with Huddles at more than 150 schools in San Diego County. Each Huddle meets weekly to engage in a small group bible study as well as other activities.
Jordan said that about 80% of FCA’s membership consists of high school students, many of whom attend the annual FCA Southern California summer camp at UCLA. More than one thousand students attended this year’s summer camp. The donation made by A-1 Self Storage and the Caster Family Trust was used to provide scholarships for students who otherwise would not have been financially able to attend.
During this week-long event, student athletes are grouped in Huddles of 8 and paired with a college athlete who plays their sport. The Huddles live together, share meals together, and train together. The student athletes get to share stories and talk about personal issues involving faith, friends, and family. This closeness and camaraderie often lead to friendships that grow even after camp has ended.
“It’s a giant melting pot of people who come together in these Huddles,” Jordan said. “You’ll have kids who have never met the people in their Huddle before and we’ll hear stories circulate throughout the year about students who stayed together, went back, and started a ministry with students in their area, or who just stayed connected with their huddle leader who helped them take the next step to get into a school after high school. Those are the kinds of really, really, cool stories that come out of the community. When you throw the Gospel on top of that, they have the opportunity to form some new friendships, especially the opportunity to form an everlasting friendship with their Heavenly Father.”
Jordan says that the FCA is a life changing opportunity for student athletes and we agree. People need to feel like they belong and feel like they have a group that they can connect with. It is an honor for A-1 Self Storage and the Caster Family to support the FCA in making sure the structure is in place so that these relationships can develop.
“We can’t thank people like the Caster Family enough,” Jordan said. “The people who choose to come alongside organizations like ours are so important, because they believe in our mission. They believe in our vision. They believe in what we are trying to accomplish. The generosity of certain people and organizations is mind blowing to me. We couldn’t do it without the donations of others. I’m just so thankful for families like the Caster Family who put the gospel first.”
The FCA is completely funded by donations. If you would like to learn more about how you can contribute to their mission, please contact Heather Williams in the Donor Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-892-1115.