A Five-Year Journey

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS), started by Paul Spotts in 2010. Today, CYAS is the largest ministry serving the Catholic young adult community in Denver, approaching nearly 1,000 annual participants.  Paul began this ministry because he felt strongly that young adults in Denver needed a community to feel at home.  He believed he was well-connected to fellow Catholic young adults in Denver, yet still remained an outsider. Through his years of serving with Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), he recognized the urgent need for community in Denver among young adults.  He understood the struggles young Catholics faced and knew they needed better means to be connected to the body of Christ.


Paul was in touch with some friends in Kansas City who had started a young adult sports ministry.  These friends suggested that Paul start a similar ministry in Denver.  Although hesitant at first, Paul also received a clear message from God to be "more open."  Soon after, there was no doubt the Lord was calling him to this ministry, and in 2010, Paul launched the first kickball league for CYAS.  The league had 150 participants.  By the end of the season, it was obvious that Paul had found his mission field.  Of course, this call would not be without sacrifice, and there were many financial hurdles to overcome.  Paul recalls his spiritual director looking at him during the first kickball season and asking, "How long can you last without an income?"  Paul found ways to make it work.

In the first year of CYAS, Paul made a total of $1,000.  Paul jokes that one of the questions he asked his wife, Molly, on their first date was how she felt about his use of coupons. Missionary fundraising forces one to rely on the generosity of others and trust in God to provide.  Paul sincerely expressed that he and his family and their livelihood are all entirely dependent on the generosity of others, and there is true beauty in that.  Dan and Misti Hawkins, former CU football coach, were some of the first contributors to CYAS; they paid for half of the first year’s insurance costs.


CYAS continued to grow and Paul's mission to grow community among young adults increased with it.  People came to play sports, but stayed to socialize after the games.  Paul always made a point to get people to come to a local restaurant after the games, because of that core belief that evangelization happens through community. Or as Paul states, “We cannot understand our role in the Body of Christ, if we are not in active unity with it.”  This made it easy for new people to come and join in with little pressure.  Everyone got to know each other and newcomers were always welcome.  

After the success of kickball, Paul offered softball, flag football, dodgeball, wiffleball and then returned to softball. In recent years, Paul included ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and basketball.  Paul wanted to do more and devote more effort to the mission of evangelization.  Many people joined him in this effort.  Robert Clam was one of Paul's first official volunteers, who also became a recruiter and connector for CYAS.  Jeremy Stallmo created the CYAS website, which made it easier for people to register for sports leagues.  

Other volunteers who joined Paul were Ashley Hurley, Maggie Smith, Seth DeMoor and Kim Elsmore. Paul created a board including Lucy Guzman, Christopher Stefanick, Art Nutter and himself.  Louis Krupp joined late in the first year as a Board Treasurer. Along with these new friendships formed through CYAS, Paul also met his wife, Molly.  

In January of 2011 during the CYAS wiffleball season held in the Christ the King parish gym, Paul noticed Molly during a Mass and was struck by the fact that she stayed afterwards to offer a prayer of thanksgiving, which he normally did as well. He invited her to play wiffleball, which she kindly declined, but she came for the prayer hour Paul held before the games, and that was enough for Paul to act. Molly enjoys captaining and playing in CYAS leagues when she can, she and Paul take turns on the homeless street ministry walks, and she disciples one of the CYAS Bible study leaders, but she laments that it is often difficult juggling the family's schedule. Paul and Molly now have two children, Lucy and Nick.  


When asked what Paul wants for CYAS in the future, he wishes for continued growth for the community’s fellowship and its emphasis on building disciples of Jesus. Ashley Hurley is a great example of how community is built into CYAS, “The friendships and relationships have been the best things that have happened to me in CYAS... I got to know my fiancé through CYAS and was able to build a friendship with him within the context of a community.” She adds by saying “CYAS is such a gift! There are few opportunities that really help facilitate authentic friendships for young adults in the culture and in the church.”

Paul has already established a chapter of CYAS in San Diego and has led two mission trips to Nicaragua with young adults from both chapters, a practice he plans to continue every summer. Community leads to evangelization, which Paul feels passionate about and is a crucial component of his mission.  He notes that most young adults lack the tools to evangelize.  He sees the sports and Bible studies as crucial to empowering young adults to be witnesses for Christ without being awkward.  He believes there is still a great need for formation in the CYAS community and has been investing heavily in that phase of the mission’s development.
Anna Mann

Jumping from Rat Race to Purpose

The Latest Story from CYAS - by Kate Anderson
“Once I stormed Heaven, reached out to friends and family, the desire to serve this ministry, specifically CYAS only grew stronger. So I followed the call I truly believe the Holy Spirit put on my heart and can proudly say, I am a CYAS missionary…in training! Praise God!” Mann said.
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FAQs

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:

  1. To cover players that receive free scholarships for playing in our leagues (10% of participants)
  2. Expansion of our services in existing locations (including marketing for outreach and the development of formation programs)
  3. 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)
  4. To pay for our insurance cost (about $10,000/year and growing as we grow)
  5. The ongoing formation, training and community building among our missionaries. They need to be loved in order to continue sharing His love
The captain's deposit is just that, a deposit ensuring us of your teams participation in the league. It is non-refundable, because we get field time and schedule around your team being playable. Captains with unused deposits will normally be offered a league credit, if CYAS is notified before the end of registration that the captain's team will not be in the league.

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.

We wouldn't be "Catholic" Young Adult Sports if we weren't!

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)

The Catholic Church is not adverse to the use of alcohol by adults in moderation.In fact, it was customary for Jews to drink wine within religious celebrations and regularly with meals. Jesus himself made good wine abundant at the Wedding of Cana and ultimately transformed wine into the gift of his blood, which we receive at the Catholic mass offered daily. Therefore, we are comfortable with the casual and responsible enjoyment of alcohol and are not adverse to gathering after a game at the local family friendly sports bar for fellowship and to enjoy a drink, and/or meal, in moderation.

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.

JOIN AS A FREE AGENT! We'll place you on a team or create a team of other FAs for you. If you only have a few friends you want to play with you can also ask to be placed together with others on a team or have some FAs added to complete your team.
CYAS has a strategic plan of national growth to reach young adults, evangelize through Bible studies and retreats, and provide awesome kick butt sport leagues, social events and mission trips. We have a hurdle though...missionary staff! We are praying for the Lord of the Harvest to provide laborers. If you know someone interested please send them to this link and suggest they apply to discern with us: www.catholicyoungadultsports.com/career