Charity spotlight: Fellowship of Christian Athletes

FCA's Dan MacLachlan
FCA’s Dan MacLachlan

When he was coaching football or track and field, Dan MacLachlan saw first-hand the way a motivational talk – to coaches as well as players – could lead to transformational influence in the lives of coaches, athletes and sports fans.

Now he leads an organization, the Southern Missouri chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, whose focus is just that.

If challenging situations on or off the field emerge, FCA can meet with coaches one-on-one to develop strategies. Or, to boost the confidence of student-athletes, FCA-organized campus-wide huddles can foster leadership – even from those who are not considered leaders.

Which is why the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to have the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on board again. The tournament, an annual PGA Web.com Tour event, has gifted almost $13 million to children’s charities in the past 26 years, and FCA was one of the first four going back to the early 1990s.

“This tournament allows us to remain fully funded,” said MacLachlan, Area Director of FCA and a former football and track & field coach at Glendale and Strafford high schools. “Sports reveal character in individual athletes, and (FCA) is a great medium to reveal one’s faith and personal identity.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes can be found in most Ozarks-area high schools.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes can be found in most Ozarks-area high schools.

FCA opened its Springfield office 29 years ago and was led by Gary Beets until his retirement last year. Janet Sterling joined the MO FCA staff in 1997 as Administrative Assistant/Office Manager. FCA has grown tremendously over the years, to the point that most schools in southwest Missouri have an FCA chapter.

All in all, FCA has stuck to its mission, which reads, “To present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes actually has its roots only about four hours west of Springfield. The FCA was born more than 60 years ago in the heart of Don McClanen when he was a student at what is now Oklahoma State University.

McClanen envisioned athletes at all levels advancing the cause of Christ through a nationwide team ministry. His dream became reality in 1954 with the chartering of FCA in Norman, Okla., after seven years of contacts with athletes, ministers and businessmen gathering interest and support of this dream.

The FCA hosts a  number of summer camps.
The FCA hosts a number of summer camps.

MacLachlan is carrying on the legacy. The FCA’s efforts are aimed at serving coaches and student-athletes, equipping them in their faith so that they can enjoy success through their seasons, of sport and their seasons of life.

In student-oriented campus huddles, for instance, athletes can discuss the challenges they face. It allows for interaction and ideas from fellow students.

“As a coach, that interaction helps build true confidence,” MacLachlan said.

FCA-stadium2

For coaches, the FCA has been valuable, and not simply with online materials. MacLachlan shared the story of a local high school girls basketball coach who, instead of holding a regular practice, switched gears by having players spend the block of time talking about issues. It led to a season turnaround.

“In the schools, we’re seeing a lot of success,” MacLachlan said. “When they asked their team, ‘What motivates you?’ it was a breakthrough.”

Here’s how to help:

SUPPORTING THE PCCC = SUPPORTING CHARITIES

  • BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships. Rent skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens, where your group will have covered seating and more. Or advertise on the course with your banner, ensuring your brand gets a large audience. Or play in any of our pro-ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.

    The Ultimate
    The Ultimate means air-conditioned seating on the 18th green and a chance to win a Corvette Stingray.
  • WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.Win this truck
  • SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400. 

    Dawie vander Walt shows his winners trophy after the final round of the Price Cutter Charity Championship at Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield on August 16, 2015.
    Dawie vander Walt won the 2015 PCCC and is on the PGA Tour. (Photo courtesy of StidzMedia)
  • FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES SOUTHERN MISSOURI: To assist FCA in any way, call 417-823-7744 or visit its website at www.somofca.org.

 

 

 

Charity spotlight: Springfield-Greene County Park Board

The Espinosa daughters are appreciative of the PCCC's donations to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund.
The Espinosa daughters are appreciative of the PCCC’s donations to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund.

There is nothing quite like the heart-warming smile of a proud mom. And the best example may be Silvia Espinosa.

You see, her three daughters couldn’t have attended programs at the Springfield-Greene County Park Board without donations to the organization’s Scholarship Fund. And the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper played a role.

All three of her daughters learned to swim at the Chesterfield Family Center. One of the daughters gained confidence through dance lessons at the Doling Family Center.

“We are so thankful for the scholarships my three daughters received. They would not have been able to benefit from these learning experiences if we didn’t have the funding for it,” Espinosa said. “It puts this mom at ease knowing they were not only getting physically fit but also learning personal safety, how to follow directions while building social skills!”

Now here’s your chance again to help children such as the Espinosa daughters and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund. The Price Cutter tournament, a PGA Web.com Tour stop, returns this August at Highland Springs and will keep aiding children’s charities. In the past 26 years, the PCCC has gifted almost $13 million.

About the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund

Horse-back riding is one of the many programs offered by the Park Board.
Horse-back riding is one of the many programs offered by the Park Board.

If you wonder if the Scholarship Fund truly makes a difference, look no further than the Espinosa family.

“They were also able to learn how to responsibly ride and care for a horse at the Valley Water Mill Equestrian Center,” Silvia Espinosa said of her three daughters. “This was such a pleasurable experience for them that they are eagerly anticipating next year when there is more scholarship funds available, so they can reapply and continue their horseback riding lessons.”

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board has been around for more than 100 years and was established in 1913, building its profile to the point that it has earned a positive, national reputation.

Not only can your kids play in a sports league such as baseball or volleyball, but the Park Board also offers a ton of other fun activities such as summer camps, after-school programs, zoo education, dance, archery, martial arts, golf, tennis, canoe and kayak rentals and much, much more.

Dance classes also are popular.
Dance classes also are popular.

As our community grows, requests for scholarships continue to increase. The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk and the Price Cutter Charity Championship are the two largest sources of funding for the Scholarship Fund.

Since 2008, the Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $184,000, helping more than 6,000 kids play sports, go to summer camp and other youth programs designed to build skills and confidence while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, regardless of their families’ ability to afford registration fees.

To be eligible for scholarships, students must live in Greene County and qualify for free or reduced school lunch (or otherwise meet federal income guidelines). Scholarships are awarded based on availability of funds and applicants’ needs. The average individual award is about $30, but kids are eligible for up to $90 a year, enough to allow most kids to take part in more than one activity.

The PCCC’s contributions help families such as the Espinosas to cover a few more dollars in their program applications.

“One-hundred percent of the Park Board Scholarship Fund comes from donations and fundraisers,” said Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. “And 100 percent of that money is invested in kids in our community who need help accessing sports and programs. The challenge is keeping up with requests for scholarships. That’s where events like the Price Cutter Charity Championship come in, to help keep the door open to everyone who qualifies for assistance.”

RISING STARS, RAISING HOPES

  • BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens (with food badges), on-course signage and events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.

    The Ultimate
    In The Ultimate, sit in an air-conditioned skybox on the 18th green and have a chance to win a new Corvette Stingray.
  • WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.

    Win this truck
    Win this truck in the TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes.
  • SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400.

    Dawie vander Walt shows his winners trophy after the final round of the Price Cutter Charity Championship at Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield on August 16, 2015.
    Dawie vander Walt won the 2015 PCCC. (Photo courtesy of StidzMedia.)
  • HELP THE SPRINGFIELD-GREENE COUNTY PARK BOARD SCHOLARSHIP FUND: The Park Board offers numerous youth athletic and recreational programs, but a number of kids’ families need financial assistance for registration fees. Scholarships may be available for kids 18 and under who live in Springfield or Greene County and meet income guidelines. Call 864-1049 or go to parkboard.org.