Cindy Kostek remembers when college friends invited her to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering.
She found that the group helped her grow and live out her faith. Later, she was a coach at an FCA camp in Iowa for about 12 years.
Today, Kostek is a secondary school counselor and girls volleyball coach at Fremont High School.
And since last fall, she and Justin Bigsby, English department chair and boys and girls tennis coach, have been sponsors of the FCA group at the high school.
In the past, the school has had what’s called an FCA huddle.
“It’s my understanding that it was very active, but like other things in school — a lot of times — when a sponsor moves on somewhere else there’s maybe not anybody to take over to help, so I’m guessing that’s what happened,” Kostek said.
Last fall, Fremonter Darrin Richardson said he was asked to start the group at the high school, where his sons Kade, a senior, and Titus, a freshman, are students.
“I prayed about it. I talked to my kids and they were on board and I talked to a couple other guys — and we prayed about it — and we’ve been meeting every Wednesday,” Richardson said.
Kostek and Bigsby were asked to come alongside as sponsors and agreed to help get the group started.
The group meets from 7:10 to 7:40 a.m. at FHS. About 30 students in grades 9-12 attended on Wednesday.
Richardson said meetings take place in the mornings, because he doesn’t want to take away from Wednesday night youth groups.
“Every Wednesday, Darrin has a message for the kids or brings in a speaker to give a message — encouraging them to grow in their faith and share their faith — be a light in the school and to be an example for their teams,” Kostek said.
Richardson plans on bringing in more speakers.
“If anybody in the community feels like they’d like to participate in that or have something to share, we’d love to have community members get involved,” Kostek said.
After the group started at the end of October, teens collected items for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse and sent off about 20 boxes. A group of students also rang bells for the Salvation Army at HyVee Food Store before Christmas.
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“We want to continue to do community service-types of activities,” Kostek said.
She believes FCA provides an opportunity for like-minded kids looking for accountability and a group that challenges them and a place where they can belong.
“We hope to have some team-building activities where kids can get outside of our morning time and grow as a group,” she said.
There is a prayer time during the gatherings and a family or two donates two boxes of doughnuts and juice each week.
Kostek said one goal would be to get students from all different sports teams involved.
“We do have other coaches who are supportive and promote the group to their student athletes,” she said.
Any student who is goal- and team-oriented would be welcome.
Richardson said students want to be a part of it. Students have shared their experiences with Christ. He hopes to have students get involved in bringing their friends to FCA and sharing Christ.
One student, Michayla George, has been participating in FCA. She started after Kostek told her about the group.
“I was kind of not connected with Christ for a little while,” George said. “I thought it was going to be a really good opportunity for me to reconnect with Christ.”
She appreciates when a coach or another student talks or a Bible verse is read.
“I feel like that really helps us connect,” she said. “It helps us stick together and share our passion for spreading the Gospel.”
In the future, Richardson hopes to have FCA do more outreach in the community.