Written by Phil Cerroni
By Leann Callaway
First Baptist Church in Irving and Plymouth Park Baptist Church are teaming up for another exciting season of Upward Basketball and Cheerleading.
This partnership began four years ago, and was designed to create a safe, fun and family-friendly environment where 1st - 6th graders could learn fundamental skills, build character and also hear the gospel.
“I was really excited when Plymouth Park Baptist and First Baptist Irving partnered together to expand this program,” said John Durham, pastor of First Baptist Church in Irving. “I think children gathering in the safe environment of a church gymnasium is so great. And more than that, it is an environment where the children have a positive coach that encourages our kids, gives them some great wisdom and insight from God’s Word, and points our children to God’s love that is expressed in Jesus Christ.”
In Upward Basketball, every child is given the opportunity to participate equally. Before the season begins, each child goes through a simple skills evaluation which enables leaders to form balanced teams.
The cheerleading program teaches cheers, routines and fundamental skills while also adding to the excitement on game day.
“Upward is such an amazing program, from the game that is played to the way the kids are encouraged to play,” said Jennifer Mosty, children’s minister at First Baptist Church in Irving. “Whether it be cheerleading or basketball, the kids are encouraged to be wise in both how to play the game using their learned skills and how to display attitudes that are edifying to both the Lord and to each other while playing or participating.”
Jason Curry, children’s minister at Plymouth Park Baptist Church, agreed.
“Upward simply put gives kids a chance,” Curry said. “They have a chance to develop their skills and physical abilities, a chance to be a part of a team, and a chance to be in a place that teaches not just the sport but sportsmanship. The best and most important thing this program offers is a chance for kids to hear about the free gift of salvation -- a chance to place their faith in Christ. Upward is a chance and one worth taking.”
Many parents are turning to Upward to help their children learn the fundamentals of sports, while also helping them gain confidence and a positive sports experience without the pressures often found in a traditional sports league.
Basketball evaluations and cheerleading orientation will be held Nov. 5, 6 and 8 at First Baptist Irving, and at Plymouth Park Baptist Church on Nov. 12, 13 and 15 from 6 – 8 p.m. The early registration cost per child for basketball/cheerleading is $65; after Nov. 2, the cost is $70. The deadline for registration is Nov. 17.