‘Go big in all facets of life:’ North Duplin goes deep in annual FCA camp

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Last year when North Duplin’s football team came back from the Team NC Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp, a fellow North Duplin student and server at Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries told the Coastal NC FCA director Ken Lowell, “I don’t know what you guys do at your camp, but that team is changed and they have helped our school change for the better.”

Lowell says that is the purpose of the Team NC FCA Camp, to make the men that compete in drills better as men of God.

“Go big in all facets of life,” Lowell said as he challenged the team during recent huddles after competitions.

North Duplin’s football team is coming off a 5-6 record last season and the pack is looking to get back to winning more games this upcoming season.

Lowell says the camp at the University of Mount Olive is not just about creating better football players, it’s about creating better men, who live out their purpose and “being different” as they go back to school and into the world.

Athletes attending the camp stay in UMO dorm rooms, offering teams a chance to grow together in the same living environment.

“This camp really helped us bond on-and-off the field. We had to communicate in more ways than one and that helped us rely on each other more,” said North Duplin football player DJ Simmons. “We are going up against bigger and faster teams than we will see this season so we have really been challenged during camp. Something that really stood out to me was when the FCA staff continued to encourage us to remember who we are and the impact that we have. We have to take steps to be better people and incorporate God in our lives to live the life we want to live.”

North Duplin coach Hugh Martin didn’t have as many team members as some of the other schools in attendance, but said he is pleased with the overall development of his team. “We were able to see the commitment by our players just by them being at the camp. They gave up three days of summer vacation to be part of the camp and to work at making us a better team,” he said. “We also saw some things we need to work on with football techniques and skills. We also do a lot of growth in competitiveness from the first 7-on-7 game to the last. Mostly though, we saw young men on our team committing themselves to grow spiritually.”

It’s about more than football for more than just the players.

“The FCA camp gives our team the opportunity to spend time together and learn more about one another,” Martin said. “We hope to grow closer as a team and the players and coaches have the opportunity to grow spiritually as well. The camp’s speakers encouraged the players to live and play with a positive spirit, to compete as Christian athletes and to develop behaviors that reflect their beliefs and we hope to continue that as well.”

North Duplin’s football team plans to take what it’s learned into the rest of the summer and the season ahead. The Rebels will be in their first action of the season on Friday, Aug. 23, when they host South Lenoir for the school’s Law Enforcement, EMT and Fire Fighter Recognition night.

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