Upward Basketball was a huge success this summer at First Baptist Church.
Upward Basketball was a huge success this summer at First Baptist Church.
Some kids practice their dribbling exercises on First Baptist's rubber gym floor. Other kids pass the ball to one another while others practice making the ball through the hoop.

The whistle is blown and the playing ceases. Then, the kids gather for prayer and a message.

This God-centered basketball could mean only one thing, Upward Basketball.

First Baptist Church in Philadelphia held its Upward Basketball Summer Camp on June 24-26. The camp had 23 kids in enrollment.

"We at FBC were really proud to have a great camp, Minister of Students Aaron Tucker said.

"We are always excited to have the opportunity to work with young kids and provide skills for them including skills on the basketball court and skills for life. We tried to bring Christ to these kids through basketball."

Upward Basketball is not just about learning the skills and techniques of basketball. It has a God-centered message that focuses on five stars: effort, sportsmanship, offense, defense and Christlikeness. These stars are used as a curriculum to teach the campers about Christ.

"It's been a fun, learning experience. You learn a lot about God and it's been fun," said Upward Basketball camper Ethan Dulay.

Upward Basketball aims to be a positive experience for the campers.

"In Upward Basketball, every child is a winner," Sylvia Huffman who monitors FBC's gym, said.

"Because of this, we do not keep score of the camp's scrimmages."

Camper Terrance Durant said coaches" tell you that you did good even when you think you didn't."

Upward Basketball is a branch of Upward Sports, a God-centered program whose motto is "Promoting the Discovery of Jesus Through Sports." Upward Sports was established in 1995 and has grown to be the largest Christian sports league for young athletes in the world.

Approximately, half a million players have participated in Upward Sports in camps, recreation clinics and leagues in 47 states and 72 countries.