36th Week of Champions will be biggest yet

mmccombs@islandpacket.comJune 8, 2014 

Fellow campers and coach Wallace Francis, a former player with the Atlanta Falcons, look on as Zachary Reed, 11, hauls in a pass as the 35th annual Week of Champions sports camps got underway in June at Hilton Head Island High School and a variety of other locations in Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

JAY KARR — Jay Karr Buy Photo

Chuck Workman says he knows people who don't understand his career move.

The former health care professional left behind his lucrative career two years ago to take over as director of the Week of Champions.

"They don't understand my passion," Workman said.

The Week of Champions, which kicks off its 36th year Monday, is a nonprofit volunteer organization started by Gary and Wanda Wetherington that provides Christian-based sports camps for children, ages 8 to 12, free of charge.

Professional and college athletes run the camps, where they teach the kids to be champions on and off the field.

WOC is run by the South Coastal Fellowship of Christian Athletes, for which Workman is the area representative, and is now the largest FCA camp in the nation.

And if Workman needs a reason to justify his move, he can point to the numbers, because WOC is getting even bigger.

Last year, the first year WOC used online registration, roughly 450 unique campers signed up, according to Workman. Unique means those kids may sign up for more than one clinic.

Workman said that the kids that pre-registered accounted for about two-thirds of the total number that actually attended, as walk-ups are welcome.

This year, more than 1,000 kids have already registered.

"I think we've done a good job with social media, of sharing our excitement for the ministry," Workman said. "Having FCA in 15 of our schools in the county really helps, too."

Running clinics for that many kids is a tall order. Workman said WOC will require roughly 275 adult and student volunteers. Last year, that number was 175.

Among new additions are Thomas Heyward Academy baseball and football coach Nic Shuford, USC Beaufort softball coach Laura Heberling and Sand Sharks All-American Taylor Triplett.

"It's a big deal when local heroes give back," Workman said. "It's huge."

Not only are there more kids and coaches, but WOC is getting bigger in terms of geography and the number of sports offered.

In addition to Bluffton and Hilton Head Island high schools, there will be clinics at Battery Creek and Thomas Heyward Academy to answer demand in Beaufort and Ridgeland.

And softball and volleyball were added this year "to bring more girls into the ministry," Workman said in January.

Another change for this year involves the NASCAR demonstration.

Last year, it was held in one place and was strictly a demonstration. This year, it will be hands on for the kids.

"After last year, NASCAR came to us and said, 'We want to be more involved. What can we do?' " Workman said.

The result is "A Day In The Life of NASCAR," a demonstration that will allow the kids to work on a Sprint Cup car, a late-model car and a racing go-cart. And it will be held after the normal camp time at Hilton Head, Bluffton and Thomas Heyward so parents picking up their kids at those sites on those days can stay with them for the demonstration.

Despite the changes over the past two years, Workman is quick to give credit to the Wetheringtons and others who kept the WOC alive and thriving for more than 30 years.

"I feel because of the foundation they laid, God is going to continue to bless us every day." Workman said.

WEEK OF CHAMPIONS

8:30 a.m.-noon, Monday-Friday

Boys and girls, ages 8 through 12 welcome.

Locations: Battery Creek High School (BC), Bluffton High School (BLF), Hilton Head Island High School (HHH), Hilton Head Lakes Golf Course (HHLGC), Robert Trent Jones Golf Course (RTJGC), Thomas Heyward Academy (THA)

Register: To register, visit http://southcoastalfca.org/woc. Note: Registration for golf is closed as the clinics are full.

SCHEDULE

All times 8:30 a.m. until noon unless otherwise noted.

Monday

Cheerleading: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Football: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Soccer: BC, BLF, HHH

Volleyball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Tuesday

Cheerleading: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Football: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Soccer: BC, BLF, HHH

Volleyball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Wednesday

Baseball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Basketball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

NASCAR: HHH, noon-2:30 p.m.

Softball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Tennis: BC, BLF, HHH

Thursday

Baseball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Basketball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

NASCAR: BLF, noon-2:30 p.m.

Softball: BC, BLF, HHH, THA

Tennis: BC, BLF, HHH

Friday

Golf: HHLGC, RTJGC

NASCAR: THA, noon-2:30 p.m.

ATHLETES

Here is a partial list of tha athletes and coaches working the Week of Champions and their location, if available:

Baseball: Blair Carson (Hilton Head Island head coach), HHH; Lee Guetterman (Mariners, Yankees, Mets, Cardinals), THA; Andy McGaffigan (Yankees, Giants, Reds, Expos, Royals), BC; Chris Seelbach (Atlanta Braves), HHH; Nic Shuford (Thomas Heyward head coach), THA; Steve Sisco (Atlanta Braves), BLF; Randy Tomlin (Pittsburgh Pirates), HHH.

Basketball: Chavis Holmes (VMI), HHH; Travis Holmes (VMI), HHH; Rodney Monroe (N.C. State, Atlanta Hawks), BLF

Football: Airese Currie (Clemson, Chicago Bears), BLF; Wallace Francis (Atlanta Falcons), BC; Reggie Merriweather (Clemson), BLF

Soccer: Wayne Quinlan (Hilton Head Island boys head coach), HHH; Steve Shak (UCLA, MLS), HHH

Softball: Tina Whitlock (Lander head coach), BLF; Sarah Hall (North Greenville head coach), HHH; Laura Heberling (USC Beaufort head coach), BC; Taylor Triplett (USC Beaufort), HHH

Tennis: Dwayne Hultquist (Florida State head coach), HHH

Volleyball: Kim Williams (South Carolina head coach), HHH

RELATED STORIES

Week of Champions ready for 36th edition, Jan. 28, 2014

Week of Champions adding new faces to clinic lineup this year, April 2, 2014

Week of Champions set to kick off for 35th time, June 12, 2013

Houston Nutt to speak at annual FCA Week of Champions banquet, March 15, 2013 Week of Champions to continue with help from FCA, Nov. 14, 2012

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