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Fellowship of Christian Athletes new at New Richmond High School

Religion and sports.

They are a combination of images that are rarely meshed together. There is one organization that has successfully been able to blend the ideals of religion and sports.

That organization is the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). An FCA chapter has been started at New Richmond High School, with Tiger football coach Jason Eckert as the advisor.

Eckert was the advisor for an FCA chapter at Colfax High School before being hired in New Richmond this summer. Eckert said there are chapters in the Hudson and Eau Claire high schools.

FCA is a national organization that has been in existence since 1954. FCA is the largest Christian sports organization in America. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.

FCA is most widely known at the collegiate level. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is the largest Christian campus ministry in the world. It is on more campuses than the next three largest campus ministries combined. In the past year, FCA reached more than 356,250 people on 7,125 campuses and worked with more than 46,000 coaches and athletes at camps across the globe.

The first meeting for a NRHS chapter was held recently. Twenty-three students took part in the meeting and Eckert said several more students have taken interest in the organization.

Eckert said he was planning on beginning a chapter here after he was hired in New Richmond. Before he had a chance to get started on the plans, he was contacted by several students who wanted him to start a chapter. The group plans to hold weekly meetings.

FCA is a non-denominational organization. Eckert said one of the group's goals is to help young athletes realize where their focus should be.

"Religion gets portrayed the wrong way in sports," Eckert said. "A lot of people use it to bring focus on themselves instead of where the focus should be. Our focus is on Christ. We take everything right from the Bible."

FCA works to show young athletes that it is allowable to combine a passion for sports with a passion for Christ, and teach them that those two worlds don't have to be separate.

Coaches are one of the main strengths of FCA. Coaches can be examples of how Christians can be involved in sports and maintain Christian beliefs.

Eckert said the weekly NRHS meetings will be geared toward athletes' needs, how to deal with competitiveness, training, etc. and maintain a Christian focus.

The local FCA chapter will be a civic effort. Eckert said that the Colfax chapter put on a Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter one year. He said he would like to see the New Richmond chapter find ways to make a difference in the community.

"This is designed to be a student-run organization," Eckert said. "We'll see what ideas the students have."

Anyone seeking more information on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes can check the national organization's Web site at

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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