Behind the Scenes | The Legends of Sports Camp

If you saw the video we showed Sunday morning, you know we had an incredible few days last week when our campus was filled with kids from our church and neighborhoods playing sports together!  Now, the video showed specifically the boys at our basketball sessions, but there was a lot more going on than just that “epic Keshawn crossover” you all heard about. Read on to hear more about the making of our video, “The Legends of Sports Camp.”

jharneybw2Going into the week of Sports Camp, I knew I would be preaching that Sunday, and I wanted students to be involved in the message somehow. Also, those boys are hilarious. We had some great times and it seemed too fitting not to share at least one of those “legendary” moments.

Man, those kids are awesome. All students can be trying at times, but I really love the group I got to work with at Sports Camp. There are some boys who can really play ball, but there are others who were just there because they like to play and their friends were there. What I love about that group is that when you clearly communicate your expectations for them, they often rise to meet those expectations. As someone who hopes to leave a mark on young men specifically, that was so cool to experience this week.

We had some really good coaches there last week, too. The team did an incredible job balancing instruction, fun, and discipline. Sports teach us lots of valuable lessons about character, hard work, and teamwork. I was blessed to lead a great team of adults who really invested in those kids. We were already reaping a harvest from our efforts as we saw some of them at church on Sunday.  – Joel Harney

Walking around our soccer field, volleyball net and basketball courts with a camera during Sports Camp was quite the hester2adventure! That’s partially because I secretly wish I was a talented athlete (though everyone who’s seen me play knows my enthusiasm far outstrips my ability… really, it’s hilarious). Mostly, though, I was excited because I got to watch kids in our church and local community build relationships with each other and the leaders that week; relationships built on Biblical values and Christ-like love. The kids at Sports Camp were being discipled, and I had a court-side view!

My second favorite part of the week was watching the little kids with Mike Havens in the soccer field… so much grass went flying while they practiced proper form! Seriously adorable. The only reason that’s not the top of the list is because the interviews I recorded with the students were absolutely incredible! Those guys were hilarious, clever, kind to me (even after I exhibited my lack of athletic prowess), and just plain FUN! I asked each of them the same series of questions about Sports Camp, and every single one told me about this “epic crossover” between Keshawn and DeJuan. I really wish I had been in the room when it happened, because apparently it was a huge event… when I asked CJ (one of the students who participated in basketball that week) if people would still be talking about Sports Camp six months from now, he immediately told me, “Probably that Keshawn crossover!” He didn’t hesitate a moment.  That’s when I knew we had a real story on our hands!

It was really cool, too, to watch these students interact with our Student Minister, Joel Harney. When I asked one of our students what the most epic thing at Sports Camp was, he told me it was meeting Joel! They were all so grateful that our staff took time out of their week to hang out with them, play sports, and improve their game! This week of camp was the only one out of three Valley View camps that I got to see, not including KidzView Summer Fun Days, which are kind of like mini-day camps throughout the Summer for our elementary kids. I love that our church is investing so much into the next generation of believers, and I can’t wait to watch the fruitfulness from this investment grow! – Sarah Hester

One final thought: the more volunteers we have, the more students we can reach. I think that every time an adult says “no” to a volunteer opportunity, we have to say “no” to 5-8 students because we don’t have the ability to facilitate quality programming or structure for them. This is true for any event at any age level.

Jesus asks me to do one thing, make disciples, and He asks me to do it one way, as a servant. This is what Jesus commands of all of us! I believe that you will never grow deeper in your relationship with Christ until you are consistently putting yourself in a position to imitate him.  – Joel Harney

If you are interested in volunteering with Student Ministries or any of our Family Life programming, we would love to have you! Please contact Camille Stowe, the Family Life Team Admin, at, to ask how you can get involved.