Our church began the Upward Basketball and Cheer program in 2008 for children in Kindergarten through 4th grade as an Outreach Program specifically designed to introduce Jesus Christ to children by creating opportunities for people to serve through sports.
The first year there were 93 participants; second year there were 147; the third year there were 225 and the program has currently averaged 250-260 participants during the last five years.
There are currently 100 volunteers serving each year in this ministry program. There are approximately 30-40 teams and 4 cheer squads representing over 40 churches of various denominations. Players are participating from all areas of West Tennessee including as far away as Memphis. After player evaluations, the players are placed on teams by a computer to make sure skill levels are evenly distributed.
UPWARD emphasizes having fun and displaying good sportsmanship, not the scoreboard and standings. Every child plays. Every child learns. Every child is a winner!
The goals of UPWARD are to:
• Promote character and self-esteem in every child
• Provide an evaluation system that promotes equal teams and opportunities
• Establish a family-friendly policy of a one-hour practice and game each week
• Allow every child equal playing time
• Create the opportunity for every child to learn the skills of the game
• Allow each child to connect with God and others
We are looking for volunteers with a passion for God and a love for children. Sign up to coach a basketball team, cheerleading squad or referee.
Practices start in December and games start in January of the following year through February.
Comments received following the previous season:
• “Thank you for a great first-time experience.”
• “This was our first year. I can’t think of a single improvement.”
• “Great season. Thanks for all of your hard work.”
• “Great coaches, great program.”