With the first month of our internship going full blast, we as interns have settled into our individual roles and have come together for some key events. The athletic trainers have stayed relatively busy with the Xenia Scouts but had a break this past week as rain and storms cancelled a few games in a row. The interns in the office have grown into their roles as well, taking responsibility for planning the Total Athlete Camp and creating X-Project gear and marketing material. Each “team” of interns has had opportunities to grow together as a team, while still improving professionally in their fields. The traditional “Passing the Baton” banquet took place last Saturday, with the X-Project Staff transitioning out of the project and each of the interns given a primary and secondary role for the remainder of the project. This is different from other projects, with a lot of the staff remaining in the area or at HQ since they work here. However, having the staff close by is also a blessing. The discipleship relationships can continue and develop while also giving us interns the opportunity to take more responsibility and run with it.
The first week on our own consists of two major camps here at HQ: Ultimate Training Camp and JAM Camp. Although it would make sense to be nervous and stressed over being “in charge” for the first time, the intern team has done well managing added responsibilities along with normal and assigned duties for the camp.
Ultimate Training Camp is happening this week, which is a major part of our responsibility this summer. High schoolers from all over the nation come to train and learn the AIA principles, with the chance to participate in the SPECIAL, a twenty-hour long feat of physical exhaustion designed to facilitate complete dependence on the Lord. Competitions and reflection times fill the athletes’ days during UTC, with constant reminders of the principles and teamwork. Ten of the fourteen interns serve as leaders for this camp, with the other four serving as medical staff during the competitions and events. Along with the SPECIAL and learning the principles, the athletes also are blessed with small group, or huddle, time. Huddle time allows the athletes to meet with a leader or staff member and dig into what they’re learning in a more intimate setting, with only two or three other athletes. Leaders and staff are also available for discipleship during meals, which allows the interns to practice what they are learning and the athletes to glean knowledge and advice from people not much older than them. Jacob has appreciated watching the athletes learn the principles, saying “I’ve grown in understanding the principles on a deeper level. Having a bird’s eye view of the students doing their labs has really given me a newfound respect for the staff here on X Project and AIA as a whole.” Leaders and staff spend a lot of time in prayer for the athletes, for safety, and for the Gospel to sink in and be taken seriously in the hearts and minds of the athletes.
Mental and physical exhaustion is common during this week, even before the SPECIAL begins. Matt, a team leader, said, “For them, I think it [the SPECIAL] will be humbling. We can talk about principles, we can talk about how to make God a bigger part of our sport, but… how do you respond when you literally are at your end? They’ll really get to see what we’re talking about. We want them to not just know it in their head but have it in their heart and [know] that this isn’t just knowledge. This is something we want you to live by…to use one of your biggest passions for sharing and being an image-bearer.” Within the SPECIAL, there will be times to reflect on what has been learned so far and meditate on Scripture. Please be praying for the athletes, interns, and staff during this week as we delve into physical and mental exhaustion while focusing on the Lord’s strength.
Although UTC requires a lot of time and attention from all of the interns and staff, the interns still have found time to encourage one another and spend time in community. Olivia said “the best thing I’ve experienced is fellowship with all of [the interns] and growing further in my faith and discipleship abilities.” We look forward to time spent together growing in our faith and relationship with each other. Although we all have different schedules and responsibilities, intentionality is not uncommon within the group of interns. Being surrounded by people who have the common goal of making the Lord known through sport is an enormous blessing, especially as a lot of the interns are in a position of soon graduating from college and making future plans. It has been an eye-opening experience for some, as the setting provided by the internship has revealed God’s work through the community around them to move in their life.
HOW YOU CAN PRAY
-pray for the athletes at the UTC and JAM camp
-pray for the interns as some participate in the SPECIAL and all are working the UTC
-pray for the Gospel to be clearly presented
-pray for continued community among the interns and boldness in reaching those we meet
DUE TO TECHNOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES, THIS WAS PUBLISHED LATER THAN INTENDED