By Becca Robbins

Nearly 150 kids dressed in blue T-shirts came to North Baker School this week for a five-day sports camp sponsored by Blue Mountain Baptist Church.

The three-hour-per-day, faith-based camp kicked off Monday night and teaches kids sports skills while weaving in scripture, worship songs and lessons from the Bible through tonight.

This is the second time Blue Mountain Baptist Church has hosted this camp.

The Oklahoma-based High Power team is traveling the Northwest facilitating camps in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. High Power is a ministry of Base Sports, and three other High Power teams are on other tours of the country’s churches.

After a 15-minute opening in which the team helped kids through Bible verses, songs, dances and the story of a college softball player who exhibited “rock solid character,” the kids split into their five sports.

Four- and 5-year-olds were in the Kickstarter group in which they worked on motor skills and basic sports skills. From there, kids either played basketball, soccer, cheerleading or flag football.

The theme for the week was “Rock Solid” with Monday focusing on Foundation; Tuesday teaching about Character; Wednesday, Commitment; Thursday, Relationship; and Friday looking at Attitude.

Families paid $15 to $20 per child or no more than $25 to $30 per family for the camp, depending on when they registered, which also got the kids T-shirts, water bottles and snacks. However, security officer Tom Wilcoxson, who lives in Baker City, said organizers tried to be flexible with families who couldn’t afford the cost.

La Grande mom Amanda Parker brought all three of her daughters to camp. She watched her oldest, 9-year-old Kiya, play basketball in the gym while Zoey, 8, and Meka, 6, were with the cheerleaders.

Parker said she heard about the camp on Facebook and thought the event would be great for her sports-loving daughters.

“This is one of the best church camps I’ve seen,” Parker said. “My girls love it. They’re having a blast.”

She said that although Kiya has anxiety she’s been doing really well and getting into all of the dancing and activities.

Cindy Flynn brought her 6-year-old grandson, Daniel, to “interact with kids, handle a ball and learn about God.”

Both Flynn and Parker said they’d bring their kids back again next year.

“I think it’s awesome,” Flynn said.

Ten to 12 volunteers from the community added to the ranks of the High Power team as coaches to help lead drills and lessons, Wilcoxson said.

“It’s a great community event,” he said.

Quinn Mason, head coach with High Power, said the Baker City camp is larger this year, as he recalls about 105 kids last year.

Mason, or “Coach Quinn” as the kids called him, has been involved in sports ministry for four years. He hustled around the camp Tuesday evening, shouting to get the kids excited during songs and lessons.

Mason said it’s important to have these camps at churches because it helps continue the community built even after High Power has left.

“For these kids, if they decide they want to get to know Jesus, or continue getting to know Jesus, they can come to church and see some of their coaches,” Mason said. “They can show their parents, ‘Look Mom, there’s Coach Brian’ or ‘There’s Coach Scott.’ ”

See more in the June 29, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.