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MailTribune.com
  • Impact Athletics combines religion, sports

  • Jim Winans saw a need for spirituality and sports to be connected locally, so the local man and his wife Amy created Southern Oregon Impact Athletics, a free club for kids that is operated by volunteers.
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  • Jim Winans saw a need for spirituality and sports to be connected locally, so the local man and his wife Amy created Southern Oregon Impact Athletics, a free club for kids that is operated by volunteers.
    The non-profit organization was formed around Nov. 2011. Jim Winans said he took action about 11/2 years after Fellowship of Christian Athletes disbanded.
    He began by setting up bible-study meetings at some school campuses. Impact Athletics has grown into much more since: around 350 students around the Rogue Valley participated last year in various activities, and it will have gained a presence in 19 campuses by September.
    "I saw a need to go where the kids are," said Winans, who had served on staff with Fellowship of Christian Athletes for around 10 years with Amy.
    Both Winans have experience in coaching sports: Jim — the executive director — in basketball and golf and Amy — the events director — in cheer.
    Dave Gomez is the Impact Athletics ministry director. He has served as a youth pastor at Medford Friends Church for the past seven years.
    Other contributors include Southern Oregon University assistant men's basketball coach Brant Minor and former cheerleaders Becca Buck and Heather Morse.
    The vision of Impact Athletics is to "impact the Southern Oregon athletic world and all they influence by sharing the love of Christ and the truth of his gospel through the vessel of sport," according to the website.
    Campus clubs are offered for those in middle school through college and sports activities are available for all ages.
    The group is providing youth the chance for involvement with local churches and participation in camps and training. Campus bible-study groups are also available.
    The club is hosting an all-youth group hangout from 8:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at Bobbio's Pizza in Central Point.
    Additionally, a group of around 25 high school and college students will travel to Indonesia in March to build a multi-use sports court.
    Winans said he hopes to have a facility for sports activities built locally in the near future.
    "We'd love to provide another outlet," he said. "That is a bigger-picture dream."
    For more information visit soimpactathletics.org, email jimw@soimpactathletics.org or call 541-261-2809.
    Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com
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