The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 7, 2013

A Rich Kelly column: It’s time to again look Upward

By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — It’s time for the 11th season of Upward Basketball and Cheerleading at the Jefferson Church of the Nazarene.

The church is located at 55 East Satin St. in Jefferson. The program is open for boys and girls from kindergarten through sixth grades.

It is a non-denominational program designed to simply introduce some Bible lessons to kids through a short devotional program each week while teaching simple basketball and cheering skills as well.

Cost of the program is $70. The fee covers a full uniform for participants, including t-shirts for players and mock turtlenecks for cheerleaders. Practices will be held on Monday or Tuesday evenings, and begin Dec. 2. Games begin on Jan. 4 and continue for eight weeks, with the season-ending award program set for March 8.

Children must go through an evaluation session on either Nov. 10 from 2-5 p.m., or Nov. 11 from 6-8.

The Upward system for basketball involves all players being evaluated in seven categories of basic skills. Teams then are assigned according to those scores by a central computer system at Upward headquarters in Spartanburg, S.C., on an equally competitive basis.

Players are guaranteed equal playing time according to their skill evaluations, providing regular playing time in games with equal opportunities, depending on their evaluation scores, to start games as well.

The devotionals are simply Bible verses designed to open new opportunities to children without engaging any specific denominational doctrines that might defer from previously taught items within their own church families.

It is possible to register online at the church website, www.jeffnaz.org. Connect to links under children’s ministries and follow prompts in that direction. Participants also can go to www.registration.upward.org/UPW53929 to register online. Bring fees and forms to the evaluations this coming weekend.

There will be forms at the registrations, as well, and children from several local school districts will be bringing forms home. This project is not limited to Jefferson students.

Due to policy changes in Jefferson school systems for getting information to parents in system schools, the students may not be bringing home application brochures.

More information can be obtained by calling director Steve Niro at 862-2204 or his email address at steveniro73@gmail.com. I can also help at 576-2515 or 228-1827, or messaging at heavensthunder@centurylink.net. The church office also has information at 536-8575.

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson. Reach him at heavensthunder@centurylink.net.