Disc Golf Thrives in Zambia

Less than two years ago the Marco Polo grant was the start of something big in Zambia, Africa. With the help of the grant, Eagles Wings Disc Golf took a team of 8 to Zambia to install a 9 hole disc golf course and teach the sport. The sport was very well received the week we were there and the team left with high hopes that disc golf would take root. Looking back things have progressed far more than anyone dreamed at the time.

Elem Katambo is a native staff member of Push The Rock Zambia, and helps to manage the course that was installed. Before the team left Elem predicted that he saw disc golf as something that would have “long life” in Zambia. It turns out not only was he right, but he would lead the way in making that happen.

This past weekend Elem made the trek to Ethiopia to participate in the first PDGA sanctioned event in all of Africa, the Ethiopian Open. Getting Elem there was no easy task as traveling in Africa can be expensive, but as it so often does, the generosity of the disc golf community came through. John Luetzow and Yohannes Desalegn, the event organizers, offered to take care of all in country expenses. On top of that they paid his entry to the event, and made him the first PDGA member of Zambia! A number of disc golfers from the states chipped in for air fare and he was on his way.

Elem greatly enjoyed the experience and ended up being the top amateur at the event. He had this to say, “The tournament was good because I got to interact with professionals from different countries. Seeing their levels of skill was something to admire and helped me have something to aim for. The fact that the tournament was under the PDGA was great for me. To be part of that felt so good.”

Not only did this experience serve to motivate Elem to continue to develop his skills, but has sparked new thoughts on how disc golf can grow in Zambia. This week he will do a presentation to the kids from his village that he works with regularly, and is excited about the prospect of inspiring some of them to hone their skills further. He has also initiated dialogue to figure out how we can install an additional 9 holes and run the first Zambian PDGA event.

Zambia disc golf is a prime example of why the disc golf community is like no other. The marco polo grant made the course installation possible. Innova Champion Disc donated all the initial equipment to make it happen. Udisc, Upper Park Designs, and countless others have invested to keep things going, and John and Yohannes have made it possible for Elem to see what Zambia disc golf could become.

The sky is the limit for disc golf in Zambia!

For a recap of Elem’s journey, read this story from Push the Rock – Zambia!

Eagles Wings Staff Spotlight – In The Support Raising Process

To be an employee with Eagles Wings Disc Golf, every staff member is required to raise their own support. This is a long process that will often take you through some real low moments and some incredible joys. We would love to highlight those who are still raising their own support.

Zach Smith 

Question 1 – Tell us a little about yourself
“I grew up in Springfield, Ohio in the country on a farm. I have wanted to live in Florida for the majority of my life and I chose Saint Leo University near Tampa, FL. Growing up I played a lot of baseball and really enjoyed mathematics so I went to college wanting to study Sports Business and work in baseball analytics. After doing research on baseball analytics, I found out that my calling was not to sit in front of a computer all day and not talk to others. I started following Christ in the summer of 2012 after my sophomore year of high school at a Young Life camp. While in college I continued to lead high school students through Young Life and I really love ministering to those in need. I started playing disc golf a couple years ago and found out that the need in this community was greater than I ever imagined.  I am getting married to Alicia on May 12th, 2018, we met at Saint Leo and have been together for two years now. She is graduating this year with a Psychology major and has a full time job lined up with as a dog trainer. She will be training for obedience and even some service dogs. Her ultimate goal is to train dogs for the military or veterans.”
Favorite Verse:  John 10:10, “The thief comes to kill and steal and destroy, but I have come to give you life, and life to the full.” 
Question 2 – What are some interesting facts about you that nobody else would know?
“My favorite animal is a penguin, although I cannot stand to be cold.
Favorite sports teams are the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cincinnati Reds, and the New Orleans Saints.
I really enjoy family time, especially board games and cards.”
Question 3 – Where you are, currently, at on your support journey to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings?
“I started support raising in August and have raised a little bit over 10% so far. It’s definitely allowing me to trust more and more on God and be patient in his timing.  No matter how many goals or expectations I make of potential partners, God is the only one who can fulfill them.”
How can individuals help to support you?
Click HERE to donate towards Zach and his pursuit to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings Disc Golf

Seth Hogan

Question 1 – Tell us a little about yourself

 I grew up in western Pennsylvania with my parents and brother.  I played basketball and ran track.  At Messiah College, I majored in Mathematics and earned my teacher certification.  I started teaching in 2000 and have been teaching ever since.  I coached the robotics team at our school for years and took teams to the Worlds championships multiple times.

I married my wonderful wife, Becki, almost 19 years ago.  We have 4 children who are 12, 11, 10, and 8.  Our oldest son, Elijah, is adopted.  While all of our kids like disc golf, Elijah is the most involved in the sport.  He recently got sponsored by Dynamic Discs, one of the largest disc golf companies.  

My wife and kids all help at the Eagles Wings events in our area.  Becki runs registration, and the kids help set up, give out player packs, design temp courses, and run around doing a ton of small jobs.

Other than disc golf, my favorite pass time is playing board games.  It is a great way to interact with family and friends. I also serve at my local church in many ways.  I work in the nursery, play sports with the kids before and after church, help with set up (we meet in a Boys and Girls Club), and I am in training to be an elder.

 Favorite Verse:  Romans 8: 38-39, “38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
It reminds me that we are secure in our salvation and that I can’t even mess it up because I am a created thing.
Question 2 – What are some interesting facts about you that nobody else would know?
  • When I was in high school, I worked as a rock climbing guide and a white water rafting guide.
  • I enjoy disc golf, but my 12 year old son is better than me.
  • My children have attended Push the Rock camps and class for over 5 years.
  • I volunteered with Eagles Wings from its founding.  I thought I would volunteer with them my whole life, and then God called me to stop volunteering and work full time with Eagles Wings.
  • We home school our 4 children.
  • I turned 40 on Jan 9th so I can play in the Master’s division for disc golf.
  • I volunteered at an overnight Christian summer camp for 15 years.
  • I have Celiac Disease so I can’t eat wheat.  I will gladly hang out at a restaurant with you even though I can’t eat anything.
Question 3 – Where you are, currently, at on your support journey to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings?
“I am still raising support.  I am about 30% funded.  I am still able to volunteer some of my time to Eagles Wings, but I am excited to devote full time efforts to the ministry.  There is much more that we can do to reach the lost, support the small numbers of disc golfers who are Christians, and disciple young believers.”
How can individuals help to support you?
Click HERE to donate towards Seth and his pursuit to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings Disc Golf

Chris Rodriguez

Question 1 – Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a sinner saved by the Grace and Love of our Savior Jesus Christ. When I fail at striving after Him and He still welcomes me back as the prodigal it humbles me. I’m a husband to my wife of 14 years this coming January 10th. I’m a father to 4 little ones that are growing like weeds. I’m a small business owner that builds and fabricates Frisbee golf baskets. I’m an avid disc golfer. I’m a promoter of Women’s Disc Golf here in the Northwest.

I grew up in East Los Angeles California until I was 14 when I had to go live with my Dad in Tucson AZ. I felt that the Lord called me at age 14 at camp and told me He had me.

I surrendered my life to Jesus on my 21st birthday and my mindset about truth changed. I spent so much time lying to people that I had actually started to believe those lies. It was a very scary place to be and I’m glad the Lord had other plans and didn’t let me stay there any longer.

Ecola Bible College: 2000 -2001

Ecola Bible College is a one-year program unlike other learning institutions, where much of the focus is on developing job skills and retaining information, Ecola Bible College exists to develop disciples who are equipped to face the many challenges of the Christian life with faith, courage and purpose. (Taken from their page)

It was a crucial time in my life that needed to happen. It was the launch pad that took me to work at a Camp in California for 3 consecutive summers as a Worship Leader for 2 summers then my last year as Men’s Team Counselor where I was in charge of ministering to the ministers. Those summers were 01, 02 and 03.

My life as a musician:

I’ve lead worship since I was 15 years old weather it be at youth group, college group, camps and retreats or at churches. I led worship at the church we were at in Oregon for around 8 years off and on then 4 years straight as a full time volunteer before we moved up to the Yakima area where we are now.

Mentoring through using Guitar Lessons:

While my wife and I lived on the Oregon Coast I used my ability with teaching guitar to young kids as a time of investing into their lives. It wasn’t anything special but it was a time to engage them on where they were at. I used the guitar as a tool to help them develop discipline. When they were stagnant with their pieces and worksheets I would come in and provide correction verbally and encourage them with truth. They couldn’t run away from the fact that if they didn’t practice they weren’t able to play the piece required for that day. The parable of the sower came into play. J

Favorite Verse:

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Question 2 – Where you are at, currently, on your support journey to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings?:

We are currently still on the journey of raising support to be fully funded. The journey hasn’t been what I thought it would be but God is so very sovereign and is taking us there as we stay in His will.

How can individuals help to support you?
Click HERE to donate towards Chris and his pursuit to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings Disc Golf

Eagles Wings Staff Spotlight – Chris Rodriguez

Chris Rodriguez

Question 1 – Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a sinner saved by the Grace and Love of our Savior Jesus Christ. When I fail at striving after Him and He still welcomes me back as the prodigal it humbles me. I’m a husband to my wife of 14 years this coming January 10th. I’m a father to 4 little ones that are growing like weeds. I’m a small business owner that builds and fabricates Frisbee golf baskets. I’m an avid disc golfer. I’m a promoter of Women’s Disc Golf here in the Northwest.

I grew up in East Los Angeles California until I was 14 when I had to go live with my Dad in Tucson AZ. I felt that the Lord called me at age 14 at camp and told me He had me.

I surrendered my life to Jesus on my 21st birthday and my mindset about truth changed. I spent so much time lying to people that I had actually started to believe those lies. It was a very scary place to be and I’m glad the Lord had other plans and didn’t let me stay there any longer.

Ecola Bible College: 2000 -2001

Ecola Bible College is a one-year program unlike other learning institutions, where much of the focus is on developing job skills and retaining information, Ecola Bible College exists to develop disciples who are equipped to face the many challenges of the Christian life with faith, courage and purpose. (Taken from their page)

It was a crucial time in my life that needed to happen. It was the launch pad that took me to work at a Camp in California for 3 consecutive summers as a Worship Leader for 2 summers then my last year as Men’s Team Counselor where I was in charge of ministering to the ministers. Those summers were 01, 02 and 03.

My life as a musician:

I’ve lead worship since I was 15 years old weather it be at youth group, college group, camps and retreats or at churches. I led worship at the church we were at in Oregon for around 8 years off and on then 4 years straight as a full time volunteer before we moved up to the Yakima area where we are now.

Mentoring through using Guitar Lessons:

While my wife and I lived on the Oregon Coast I used my ability with teaching guitar to young kids as a time of investing into their lives. It wasn’t anything special but it was a time to engage them on where they were at. I used the guitar as a tool to help them develop discipline. When they were stagnant with their pieces and worksheets I would come in and provide correction verbally and encourage them with truth. They couldn’t run away from the fact that if they didn’t practice they weren’t able to play the piece required for that day. The parable of the sower came into play. J

Favorite Verse:

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Question 2 – Where you are at, currently, on your support journey to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings?:

We are currently still on the journey of raising support to be fully funded. The journey hasn’t been what I thought it would be but God is so very sovereign and is taking us there as we stay in His will.

How can individuals help to support you?
Click HERE to donate towards Chris and his pursuit to become Full-Time with Eagles Wings Disc Golf

 

Disc Golfing in Ethiopia!

This weekend we are sending one of our staff members, Elem Katambo, to participate in Africa’s inaugural Professional Disc Golf Association event, the Ethiopia Open.  Being held on Saturday the 17th of February in Assosa, Ethiopia, it will be the first ever event of its kind on African soil.

Since having our own course installed back in May of 2016 with the help of Eagles Wings Disc Golf, we’ve seen tremendous growth locally, especially among the young children we work with.  Several of our staff have also become local disc golf pro’s, and Elem has gone so far as to be an officially registered PDGA member.

While Elem will be traveling to Ethiopia to compete and represent both our organization and Zambia itself, we look forward to being a part of the disc golf growth in Africa.  Two years ago, Zambia knew nothing of disc golf.  Now we have Zambia’s only course and are proud to send one of our own for an international competition.  Who knows, maybe one day we’ll host our own event!

We are proud to be a part of the event, which you can read more about  HERE!

Be sure to check back later to see the results!

UPDATE:

The results are in and Elem took first place in the amateur division!  Final standings HERE.

We are proud of his effort and thrilled he was able to take part in this event.  We now begin to dream of hosting our own similar event in the future.  Thank you for the continued support.

Practice rounds
Getting ready
Thank you Innova!
Elem receiving his 1st place trophy.

Junior Grant Application Deadline This Friday!

This Friday, February 16th, 2018, is the deadline to submit your application for the 2018 Eagles Wings Disc Golf Junior Grant. Our judges are ready to begin reading about who you are and the plans that you have to make your local disc golf community better. Our sponsors are excited to see who they are supporting with their generous contributions. Our staff is ready to work hard to support and promote 6 of the most amazing junior disc golfers.

To be fair to all the applicants, we will not be accepting applications after this deadline. Be sure to set aside time to complete your application before the end of the day on Friday!