Morenci Middle School teacher Doug Rupp was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization when he was growing up in Wauseon.
He still recalls many good times and valuable lessons learned from his days with FCA. A year and a half ago, he decided to see if Morenci students were interested in creating some memories.
With the help of colleague Dan Hoffman, Mr. Rupp launched a Morenci chapter for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in October 2007 and the club remains strong.
Many times FCA membership starts to dwindle following the initial meetings, Mr. Rupp said, but not with the Morenci group.
“We’ve been pretty consistent with 25 to 40 students each time,” he said.
Morenci’s huddle—as each small group is called—was organized through Buckeye Border FCA that includes five northwest Ohio counties, plus Lenawee and Hillsdale in Michigan.
For a $40 annual fee, each huddle receives a magazine and program ideas.
The group meets every other Wednesday during lunch hour. Participants pick up they are lunches at the cafeteria, then head to Mr. Rupp’s classroom to meet.
“I had no idea if it would go, because that’s their free time,” Mr. Rupp said.
Discussion focuses on a pre-arranged topic at each meeting and a video features the trials and tribulations of a well-known athlete.
The theme of the discussion ties Christian concepts to action on the athletic field—behavior on the playing field, how athletics can tie into daily life, etc.—but all students are welcomed to join in, whether or not their playing organized sports.
Morenci graduate Zac Johnson, a student athlete at the University of Michigan, will visit the group this spring.
Discussion has taken a side step recently as the group plans for its annual fund-raiser, a middle school dance. The event is scheduled in the cafeteria Friday night, with a DJ furnishing the music.
Morenci than 100 students attended last year’s event.
Proceeds from the dance will help send some students to FCA camp in the summer.