This year, Potomac’s annual Youth Olympics—which usually draws over 1,500 participants to Shenandoah Valley Academy’s campus (New Market, Va.)—looked a little different. “We were not able to do our regularly scheduled Olympics Games, due to COVID-19,” explains Josant Barrientos, youth director, “but that is not an excuse to not exercise and take care of our bodies!”
Instead of a one-day event, the Olympics spanned into a 31-day Health and Spiritual Challenge. “The program encouraged participants to spend time with God and exercise their bodies, applying the 8 Natural Remedies” says Barrientos. “The challenge included reading a chapter of Proverbs each day and doing a different set of daily exercises. Each Sabbath, youth were encouraged to spend an hour or more alone with God.”
In order to qualify for prizes and receive points, the 500-plus participants, ranging from ages five to 70+ logged their activities online and posted what they learned in their Bible reading for the day to social media.
“Our intent with doing the Olympics this way was to motivate our young people to be more physically and spiritually active and mindful,” says Barrientos. “Many young people are not good at ‘unplugging.’”
Barrientos says this event also opened new doors and strengthened family units, with families participating in reading the Bible and exercising together. Several youth have started taking Bible studies and several even made their decision to be baptized in the coming months.