This past June marked the second CYAS mission trip to Nicaragua. This trip was much different than the previous mission. According to Fr. Scott Bailey, one of the only returning missionaries from last year, the missionaries visited two different villages a day, as opposed to the previous year, when the mission primarily focused on the village of Condega. This year included visits to the dump and the Children's Cancer Hospital, which left some special memories with the missionaries.
All the missionaries this June were new except for Fr. Bailey and Paul Spotts, the founder of CYAS. There were 22 in all, plus Paul's two children who also came on the trip. Missionaries came from Tennessee, Ohio and California, as well as Denver. Lauren Harris from San Diego was inspired by how many people made the effort to journey to Nicaragua. She appreciated Paul's dedication in organizing Google chats for the missionaries to help prepare everyone for the mission ahead of them. Aside from the logistical part of the planning, Paul also wanted to make sure the missionaries' faith grew, so he paired each missionary with another as a prayer partner. Once everyone arrived in Nicaragua, Paul made a point to have all the participants gather for an hour every morning for prayer, and at night they would be led in discussion and prayer. Lauren Harris was grateful for this and said the time of meditation helped process what happened during the day.
Overall, the mission touched the missionaries on a deep level. Lauren was truly humbled after visiting so many impoverished villages. She, along with Fr. Bailey and a few other missionaries, spoke of one village in particular. It was one of the poorer villages, but it was clear that the villagers were thankful for everything they had, as well as the visit from the CYAS missionaries. When the missionaries first arrived in the village, they were greeted by the entire town with a mariachi band and a choir singing. The missionaries celebrated Mass with the villagers, and the town invited them to sit on the altar during Mass. At the end of the visit, the missionaries handed out rosaries to the children. Lauren commented that she had never seen children get so excited over receiving a simple rosary before. Kristi Ratican, a second grade teacher in Aurora, CO, had never been on a mission trip before. She had 150 leftover school supplies from the previous year that had been donated to help fill the 600 backpacks CYAS took and distributed to the children of Nicaragua. Kristi was also moved by the faith and gratitude of the people of Nicaragua. The villages do not even have the luxury of celebrating Mass every week, but they are still devoted to their faith, and are more appreciative of the sacraments when they are available. Kristi enjoyed interacting with the kids. She said she communicated with them without words and bonded with them by playing games.
At its core, the CYAS mission was about building relationships. This was one of the main reasons Fr. Bailey wanted to go on another mission trip to Nicaragua. He was excited to reconnect with the people of Condega, where he spent most of his time on the trip last summer. Fr. Bailey stayed with the local priest in Condega during the visit and had kept in contact with the priest through email, developing a friendship with him. The priest is responsible for 60 villages in Nicaragua, and Fr. Bailey was happy that he could help him just by talking to him over meals.
Every missionary was moved in some way by this experience in Nicaragua, and some are making plans to return next year. Lauren said she is excited to see the mission continue to grow. Kristi is already talking to Paul about planning the next mission. Many of the missionaries felt their time visiting the villages was too short. Kristi hopes to find a way to extend their stay next summer.
CYAS is a 501c3 non-profit charity, meaning donations are tax-deductible to the degree allowed by law. Like nearly all charities we have a revenue generating side through our sports leagues (e.g. red cross sells blood from blood drives) and a larger fundraising/charity side that is the heart of why we do the sports (discipleship through Bible studies, retreats, and mission trips). CYAS' revenue from leagues is not nearly enough to cover the expenses for a national outreach ministry. In fact, it isn't even enough after expenses for one full-time staff employee. Donations primarily serve our mission in these main areas:
- To cover players that receive free scholarships for playing in our leagues (10% of participants)
- Expansion of our services in existing locations (including marketing for outreach and the development of formation programs)
- Expansion efforts (including our need for support staff and office space to build a national system - think league operation support, national marketing, donation processing and servicing, accounting, legal support, and expansion related travel and training systems)
- To pay for our insurance cost (about $10,000/year and growing as we grow)
- The ongoing formation, training and community building among our missionaries. They need to be loved in order to continue sharing His love
Full refunds will be provided for any event that we cannot hold due to field scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or any other cancellation of a league/event on our part.
If a player is injured and will miss the remainder of the league, we suggest they help recruit a permanent sub and ask them to subsidize their fees (please contact us so we are aware of the arrangements & injury, or for help finding possible replacements).
Free agents and donations are non-refundable. Credits may be given to free agents for leagues, if they notify us before registration closes.
Several teams have both spouses playing and bring babies or kids to be watched by substitutes on the bench or by bringing a friend/relative spectator. Many captains will also let the couple share a team fee and just not play at the same time depending on if the team needs a man or woman. Couples may also free agent and join a team in this method, just contact us if you plan on rotating play and want a discounted team fee.
DEFINITELY BRING THE KIDS OUT! ALL OF OUR SOCIALS ARE EVEN AT FAMILY FRIENDLY SPORTS BARS (unless otherwise specified)
We do ask participants to please refrain from consumption during our leagues out of respect for our participants who are opposed to the consumption of alcohol, are underage, and to help us provide a good witness that healthy fun community can exist without the assistance of liquid spirits.
It is CYAS policy that during CYAS events, where alcohol is allowed, only beer and wine may be consumed, no hard liquor or mixed drinks.