Coach Derek Pouncey of West Lauderdale high school had a vision many years ago, and now it’s happening. Coach Pouncey passed away due to cancer in 2014, but his vision of a sports camp tied around faith is living on. Taking place at Meridian Community College this week, the 6th annual Pouncey Power Camp brought in over 300 children this year. “A lot of these kids have come back each year for the last couple of years, and, so, it’s built a reputation in the community, with the Boys & Girls Club especially. These kids actually look forward to this camp every year. They’re wearing the shirts from the past few years, and they kind of know what the system is and how it works. So, they’re looking forward to the practice, they’re looking forward to the games, and then they’re also looking forward to the devotions that we do,” said Jonathan Fulcher, who is the area director of the East Mississippi Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
People from different backgrounds and cultures are involved in pulling off this event, including high school and college students from local and surrounding areas. “Mr. P asked me last year if I wanted to help and I thought, ‘Oh, this is my chance to go do it now.’ Once I got here, I just saw how I can help somebody else in whatever they’re going through in changing their lives. So, it just made me want to do it,” said Kalirieon Alford, who will be starting his junior year at Meridian High School in the fall. Fulcher said, “the kids are just loving it and having a good time, and that’s what the camp’s all about. It was a vision behind a coach to impact his community for Jesus through sports. We’re seeing that done very, very well today.”
While Alford is volunteering this year, he first got involved by coming to the camp when he was younger. Now, he’s on a mission. “This year I got to see a bunch of new faces, and I got to teach a bunch of new things to different people about how they can build their relationship with God as I build mine with Him too.” The camp has had over 2,000 children participate in the last five years.