Southern Heights Baptist Church is once again gearing up to offer Upward Basketball and Cheerleading for the youth of Logan County. This is the ninth season the church has offered Upward and it has proven to be a successful program for kids and their families as well.
Barry McReynolds, a member of the church, coach and lead commissioner of the program at Southern Heights, says the program’s purpose is to minister to the children and their families in the community.
“This is a great opportunity to minister,” said McReynolds. “Upward is about more than just paying basketball and cheerleading, it’s a ministry to the entire family.”
Numbers vary from season to season for Upward at Southern Heights. Last year the church had 150 players and cheerleaders combined, the largest season has been 250, but McReynolds said it’s not about the numbers, it’s about reaching out to whoever signs up.
“We are tickled with this program. We really love the opportunity to get to know the kids and their families and provide a ministry to them. W really don’t have a goal of how many, we just take who comes and minister to those,” said McReynolds.
Games and practices are held at the church’s Legacy Center, located behind the church’s sanctuary.
Through Upward the gospel is shared with children and families in a variety of ways. During each practice, said McReynolds, the coaches will stop practice and have a devotion with the players and then during the games at halftime the church will have someone come and speak to the families and players often a testimony or offering encouragement about making good choices early in life and encouraging positive self image.
McReynolds said all players get equal playing time. There are mandatory substitution rules and kids are given a lot of positive reinforcement both during practice with coach and during the games as well.
“I think the one things that it does for kids who want to play is give them an opportunity to. No one is turned away because of skill or lack of skill. We’ve had a lot of special needs children. This is encouraging to children who don’t make the team in school. The main thing is the crowd as well as all the coaches and fans are very supportive. They don’t hear a lot of noise from the crowd about bad calls, it is very positive and an affirmative environment for the kids,” said McReynolds.
Upward Basketball and Cheerleading evaluations will be held at Southern Heights Baptist Church Saturday, Nov. 24 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Nov. 27 from 5:30-8 p.m., Dec. 6 from 5:30-8 p.m. and Dec. 8 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The registration fee for basketball is $45 and $48 for cheerleading. Registration forms are being handed out at local area schools or are available from the church office. Southern Heights Baptist Church offers basketball and cheerleading to children from four years old through the 6th grade. Contact the church office at 726-3491 for more information.
Upward Sports is the world’s largest Christian sports league for children and provides the BEST sports experience for every child. Upward Sports teaches sport fundamentals in an environment of healthy competition, helping kids to develop skills for the sports arena and values for life