Three football clinics have been held in the last few years as a way to bring the community together.
See video of first football clinic.
Football clinic bridges divides in Louisiana community
In early May in Lake Providence, La., two high school football teams met on the football field not to compete but to help make each other better.
The local private high school, Briarfield Academy, is on one side of the community and the public high school, Lake Providence Senior High School, is on the other. And as locals tell it, they don’t get together much.
That’s what made this football clinic, held in conjunction with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Louisiana’s spring meeting, all the more significant. Though there are no CBF partnering congregations in Lake Providence or East Carroll Parish, the Fellowship has had a presence in the area for several years. Together for Hope, the Fellowship’s national rural poverty initiative, ministers in 20 of the poorest areas in the United States, and East Carroll Parish is one.
Together for Hope uses an assets-based approach to community ministry, building off what a community does well, existing resources and dreams for the future. Ministries like the football clinic, which drew approximately 50 teenagers, help unite the community in order to build relationships and learn from one another, with the ultimate goal of working together to improve the community and reduce poverty.
The camp was led by Fitz Hill, president of Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Ark., and a former football coach at the University of Arkansas and San Jose State University. After the clinic, the local football teams ate and worshipped together at a community rally, where Hill spoke about courage, comfort zones, getting to know neighbors and strength that comes through unity.