FCA takes over Camp Bethany Christian retreat in Shreveport

January 29, 2009

by Caitlin Crawford

Tech’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes joined several other universities last weekend at their annual retreat held at Camp Bethany in Shreveport in which Tech won the attendance award, bringing over 40 students.

The retreat, that was the largest retreat with over 200 people who attended, focuses on bringing students closer to Christ by participating in games, assemblies and other forms of fellowship.

Greg Pampell, Tech’s FCA representative, said the retreat allows students to get away from everyday campus life.

“FCA is special in ways that it doesn’t deal with a specific denomination and the retreat really brings that to light,” Pampell said.
“Student athletes have busy schedules, and to give them a weekend away from that and to allow them to gather with other athletes helps to create a stronger community on and off their campuses; FCA really does belong to the students who take part in it.”

Chandler Spence, a sophomore basic major, said the weekend allowed him to escape.

“I had people on my team that hadn’t played sports since high school and some that had never played sports period, but that made it all the more fun because I’m constantly surrounded by athletes and it’s nice to get away from that too,” Spence said.

Erika Rautio, a sophomore kinesiology major, said the FCA retreat is something she looks forward to each year.

“Last year was my first year going and I had so much fun that I couldn’t wait to go again this year,” Rautio said. “It’s so great to meet other athletes with the same beliefs and to be able to compete with them and against them all weekend is something that is just simply incredible.”

Spence said his first time attending the retreat was something that will remain memorable to him as well.

“FCA camp will be one of the best memories that I will take from college,” Spence said. “It’s an experience that can change lives in one way or another, and I would strongly encourage people to go no matter what denomination they may be.”

Rautio said spending her weekends waking up early and playing dodgeball into the early morning hours are two things that are not usually on her agenda.

“The days are pretty long at camp, but you’re having so much fun that you don’t realize your days are around 20 hours and that you’re running on about five hours of sleep,” Rautio said. “Although the days are long, it’s nice to escape the realities of the world that surrounds us and spend the weekend with other athletes who share the common belief of God and what He has to offer us.”

Spence said the weekend is what one makes of it.

“You’re going to get out of the weekend what you put into it,” Spence said. “It is camp so there are some things that may seem childish, but they’re fun and if you put yourself out there, it’s really worth it.”

Rautio said the FCA retreat is something she wished happened more than once a year.

“I think I speak for everyone when saying FCA camp needs to happen more than once a year,” Rautio said. “We all have so much fun getting to know people from all the other universities that come. I came with friends from Tech, but I left with friends from all over, and that’s something I love about the entire weekend.”

Spence also said the retreat allowed him to make new friends.

“I never thought that I’d open myself up to complete strangers,” Spence said. “It’s a funny thing to think about because I hardly open myself up to some of my closest friends, yet this weekend I found myself opening up to these people that I hardly new strictly because we had a common ground of God.”