×

Congregational Church plans Mega Sports Camp

  • New Congregational Church pastor Bill Donahue discusses his plans for outreach to the community, including the camp. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • A Mega Sports Camp is planned for the New Ipswich Congregational Church this summer. The six-week program meets Wednesday nights and also features a weekly barbecue that is open to the public. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Gabe Hinkel of Greenville plays defense on Drew Rosnov, also of Greenville, near the New Ipswich Congregational Church. Both plan to enroll in the church’s new Mega Sports Camp this summer, which starts July 6. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • A Mega Sports Camp is planned for the New Ipswich Congregational Church this summer. The six-week program meets Wednesday nights and also features a weekly barbecue that is open to the public. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A Mega Sports Camp is planned for the New Ipswich Congregational Church this summer. The six-week program meets Wednesday nights and also features a weekly barbecue that is open to the public. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Colton Brown, 2, of New Ipswich might make a pretty good soccer goalie someday, if these moves he showed off at the New Ipswich Congregational Church are any indicator. Staff photo by Ben Conant



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It was only a few months ago that the parsonage of the New Ipswich Congregational Church was overgrown and unusable. The backyard was basically a forest, sloping down into a wooded area, dotted with trees. But it wasn’t long before the congregation came together and renovated it, and now, the church will use the newfound space for a summer sports camp.

Bill Donahue, who took over as pastor back in October, said his main focus has been trying to help the church be more community-oriented.

“I’m trying to make them a little more contemporary,” Donahue said. “How we can reach our culture, this community. Church can’t operate the way it used to, it just can’t.”

After one church meeting, Donahue surveyed the backyard of the parsonage and had a vision.

“I said ‘This would make an amazing picnic grove and soccer field, I could see a stage back here, family cookouts,’” he said. “And they just went with it.”

They went with it in a big way. Donahue estimates that the church community contributed nearly $25,000 worth of work. They felled the backyard trees, removed the stumps and brought in 66 truckloads of dirt to fill and even out the grade. Then, they planted a fresh lawn. And it’s on that nice greenery where Donahue’s next outreach program will take place.

Donahue said that while many churches will host a Vacation Bible School over the summer, that sort of five-day, intense Bible story learning can be too much for some. It wears out the counselors, he said, and it wears out the kids, too. Instead, the church will host a weekly sports camp from July 6 - Aug. 17. Each Wednesday, the camp will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with kids getting a chance to learn about six different sports.

“It’s specializing in coaching,” Donahue said. The camps will cover soccer, flag football, baseball, softball, basketball and motocross.

“Of course we’re not going to have kids riding motorbikes,” Donahue said with a grin, “but we’re going to teach them the safety of it, how to troubleshoot an engine that doesn’t work, clean a carburetor.”

A few local kids are already signed up and excited about the camp. Gabe Hinkel and Drew Rosnov, both of Greenville, were on the scene last week getting geared up. Both agreed they were looking forward to the soccer portion, as it’s their favorite sport.

“We like soccer and we like a lot more,” Rosnov said.

“What I like about soccer is that it's a sport of passing and stealing,” Hinkel said, “and you can dribble and pass to people and score goals.”

Both admitted they had a little bit more to learn about the sport, and that the camp might be the perfect thing.

Each instructional session will feature a “halftime,” where kids will get a quick pep talk — “not preachy at all,” Donahue said.

“In sports you need to be prepared, in life you need to be prepared,” he said. “It’s just helping kids with setting their moral compass and living life.”

Along with the camp comes a weekly barbecue that is open to the public, each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, find the New Ipswich Congregational Church on Facebook.