MARTINSVILLE — Volleyball with values.
That’s what First United Methodist Church intended when creating a co-ed volleyball league in conjunction with Upward Sports.
The primary goal is to instill values in the community’s youth that Youth and Family Pastor Laura Ballinger believes last a lifetime.
“We’re teaching kids the values that come along with sports,” she said. “There’s so many positive things about, not just in competitive sports, but just being on a team. To teach people healthy, positive ways of dealing. Tried and true vales. It goes a long way, and it can translate into every area of our interactions throughout life.”
To integrate and transfer those skills among other aspects of one’s life is something Ballinger wishes to accomplish in the league’s first year. It’s something she hopes not only the kids realize within their own growth, but parents and grandparents too.
“As kids become confident and capable in any skill, it tends to bolster their self confidence and gives them a skillset that can cross over into other realms of experiences,” she said. “Even though it’s just volleyball, it can be transferrable skills and values for a lifetime.”
As a faith-based league, First United Methodist seeks to promote religious values as well.
“We want to offer Christian values so that, on or off the court, when young people live out their values — they are winners,” Ballinger said. “When youth and children do their personal best, that adds value to the team and to the community. That’s victory.”
Connecting the community
Upward Sports offers partnerships for a variety of different athletic activities. First United Methodist chose volleyball because it’s one of the fastest growing indoor sports among all genders.
The faith-based league is designed to be co-ed and is accepting youth between fourth and eighth grade. Registrations lasts until Feb. 15, with the early sign-up period costing $55 per person. After Feb. 8, the price ups to $60.
Another goal for the league is to connect the community. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ballinger believes that sense of community has dwindled.
First United Methodist hopes the league will be one of many solutions.
“Once COVID hit, a lot of things stopped, so we hope this can jumpstart and get us back into the community,” Ballinger said. “We would love to be a part of the solution of helping kids get back, living life in a way that is positive and productive and social.
Competition will take place at First United Methodist, located at 3150 E. Myrna Lane, Martinsville, Indiana, with first practices starting on March 15. The league will then run through May all the way to a final celebration on May 15.
For more information and to register, visit https://www.fumcmartinsville.org/upward-sports/. For additional information, contact Laura Ballinger at email@example.com, or church office at (765) 342-3558.
Contact reporter Devin Voss at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @DevinVoss23. Also be sure to follow our new Instagram at @ReporterTimesSports.