By Elizabeth Mabie
Even the smallest of organizations can make a big impact on student’s lives and that is what Athletes in Action has done for Ottawa students.
Mainly stationed at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, Athletes in Action’s main goal is to teach students the connection between faith and sport. They strive to build a community for student athletes to come together and continue their faith training and be with people who love both God and playing sports. They are hoping for more of an interest from Algonquin’s athletes and sport-loving students who want a Christian community to be a part of.
“There is a really great need on campus because I think that university and college is a time where often it is easy to slip away from your faith or just get consumed with schoolwork, but having a group on campus that meets on campus is a really great group to connect with,” says Jess Feeney, staff member with Athletes in Action, “They can continue their faith’s journey and grow closer to God through this community.”
This is a time in life when students start thinking about and asking deep questions and are more aware of the issues in the world.
The staff at Athletes in Action and the group itself is there to answer these questions and allow students to look at these issues through a Christian viewpoint through discussions.
“It’s important to be available to students,” says Feeney, “It’s important that we meet them where they’re at. We have people inviting us and we go to them.”
On Monday nights the group plays a variety of sports together after Bible studies and faith-based discussions. There is also one-on-one mentoring for the athletes and helping to guide them in linking their faith and sport. Athletes are busy with training and playing, so church can be easily forgotten amongst other activities.
Sarah Knowles, a second-year graphic design student, is the only member from Algonquin who attends the meetings regularly. Knowles once played for the Thunder women’s basketball team, but discovered true enjoyment in playing rugby. She found out about the group through the National Training Camp conference run by Athletes in Action.
“It’s helped me branch out in different areas and given me confidence in terms of trying things,” says Knowles, “I love the community of people who have common interests and think the same as I do. I have learned how to relate with people and reach out to others and I’m more open to sharing my faith.”
Being a part of Athletes in Action has been a positive and life changing experience for Knowles. She considers Feeney a mentor to her and has helped to give her a new perspective on sports and God and defining the connection between the two.
Feeney says that when more Algonquin students take an interest in Athletes in Action, Knowles will likely be the person students go to for information and heading up the college’s Christian athletes.