Brownstown FCA seeking support from community



In its inaugural year, Brownstown Central High School’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes grew in numbers and offered a variety of activities for students.

Meetings every other week, open gym sessions, serving meals at The Alley in Seymour and organizing the Timeout Christian Concert are among the highlights.

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The students also began raising money to build a wooden structure that will give community members a chance to donate food and hygiene items for people to stop by and pick up items they need.

Now in its second year, FCA is looking to continue all of its activities and also finalize fundraising to make the food and hygiene drop-off station a reality.

Jennifer Shade, one of the FCA advisers and the volleyball head coach at the school, said several local churches have donated to the project and helped sponsor the organization’s activities. Other churches, individuals, businesses and organizations interested in helping may do so.

Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 159, Brownstown, IN 47220. Make checks payable to Brownstown Central Christian Athletes.

“We’ve had a lot of our community churches involved and have given great donations and have supported us and helped us,” Shade said. “We need to give them the glory because there have been churches that have really been involved. We just want to commend them for helping us get this going.”

In March, Shade, football assistant coach and FCA adviser Barry Hall and students Halle Hehman and Emily Koch attended a Brownstown Town Council meeting to share information about FCA and the group’s food and hygiene drop-off station.

Hall said the wooden structure would have an 8-foot-by-8-foot floor plan with a pitched roof, a door and a 3-foot porch. He plans to have the students help build it.

They received the council’s permission to place it in the town parking lot off of West Walnut Street, which is in a safe, high-traffic area that’s visible and accessible. Shade said students would check daily to ensure it is fully stocked and organized.

“We would start to supply it, and then we just think the community, if you get a couple of extra cans of food, just drop them off there, and other people could come and get them,” Shade said.

The inaugural Timeout Christian Concert on June 16 at Heritage Park brought together students from the Brownstown Central and Seymour high school FCA groups. Three Christian music acts performed, and there was a variety of activities for the students.

Brownstown FCA members also served meals at The Alley and plan to do that again soon, and they regularly host open gym sessions.

Meetings are at 7:30 a.m. every other Thursday at the high school. They are open to all students, whether they are an athlete or not.

The most recent meeting drew more than 100 students with 25 willing to be leaders.

“Normally, everybody comes to the first one or two and then they drop off, but this is our second year starting, and we had 104 kids,” Hall said.

Shade said it’s great to see the numbers keep increasing.

“I think it’s about the whole community,” she said. “We are a God-based community, and we have good parents who bring their kids up in the church. It’s just awesome.”

FCA invited students, staff and the community to a prayer vigil three days after four teens, including two Brownstown freshmen, were killed and five others were injured Aug. 25 on State Road 258 in Cortland when they were hit by a vehicle as they were helping push a broken-down vehicle. More than 200 people gathered in front of the school that morning.

FCA members also lead prayer before volleyball, football and basketball games.

“This has to be totally student-based,” Shade said. “We’re there just for support and to advise them a little, but it has to be students. That’s why you see the kids reading the prayers and you see the kids organizing (the prayer vigil). They are doing a great, fantastic job.”

The success of the organization has filtered down to Brownstown Central Middle School, which now offers FCA as one of its clubs. Led by dean of students Marty Young and teacher Brandon Allman, students do a service project one week and an activity the next week.

Shade said students led prayer after a recent seventh- and eighth-grade volleyball match.

“They circled up and prayed like the varsity did,” she said. “They are just mimicking that, and I think that’s good.”

The advisers see FCA as a positive group for all students.

“We said, ‘We might not instill a religion or God in all of them, but if we can just be nicer to each other, if we can just love each other, support each other, that’s our goal,’” Shade said. “We just want to see kids coming together.”

With the support of other coaches, school staff members, local churches and the community, FCA is making an impact.

“It’s tremendous how many people step up and want to help,” Hall said.

“He always says, ‘Just let God do it, and it always falls into place,’” Shade said. “He’s right. It happens.”

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To support Brownstown Central High School’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 159, Brownstown, IN 47220. Make checks payable to Brownstown Central Christian Athletes.

Brownstown Central Middle School also now has FCA as one of its clubs.


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