Director of Sports Ministry at Pittsburgh Seton LaSalle High School

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SportsLeader has been at the forefront of Catholic ministry in sports for over eleven years now.

Most recently SportsLeader has been promoting a new position called the Director of Sports Ministry. We are working with multiple dioceses in an effort to beta test this new position. Our desire is for every Catholic school to identify and work with SportsLeader to form their sports minister.

It is vital to have someone provide not just training but formation for coaches on how to integrate virtue and the faith into their everyday contact with their athletes. Coaches are so dedicated, generous and hard-working ... providing them with some personal help to reach the youth they spend so much time with and have such a powerful influence over is crucial.

It is not necessary for each school to hire a new person for this position. You can find a coach, teacher, campus ministry person … who is already on staff and has a heart for sports and ministry and maybe give them some specific time during the day to work more intentionally on this.

This is probably not feasible for you this school year but maybe planning for next year.

Why? The overwhelming majority of our Catholic play youth play sports and if we could help, form, inspire and equip our coaches bring their athletes a little closer to Jesus and our Catholic faith in the process, the results would be immediate and extremely impactful.

SAVE THE DATE: Early April we will be offering a conference at Thomas More College in Edgewood, KY on this exact topic. We pray your school can send at least one person to learn more about this culture changing event.

We have a number of schools working with us on this initiative and we would like to bring some attention to one of them and their efforts in the hope that this will inspire you join us as well: Pittsburgh Seton LaSalle high school.

The Director of Sports Ministry Kathy Wray is doing a great job and it is really permeating the whole school.

She introduced me to numerous people in my most recent visit in the business office, admin office, janitorial staff and everyone knew about SportsLeader and had really nice things to say.

I was able to observe a Senior recognition ceremony with the cross country team and it was awesome.

I was blessed to give a presentation on the 4 pillars of SportsLeader to the parents of all athletes at SLS on their back to school night and one of the Moms summed it up best, "This is why we pay $10,000 to send our kids here. This is what we want."

 
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L to R - Kathy Wray, Director of Sports Ministry, and Lauren Martin, Principal at Pittsburgh Seton LaSalle High School.

 

Lauren Martin is the Principal at Pittsburgh Seton LaSalle high school. I asked her to share some thoughts on teaming up with SportsLeader. You can read a little more about their relationship with SportsLeader here.

What has been your experience thus far Lauren as a Principal with regard to SportsLeader? What have you seen? 
While we had a good athletic program, we determined that we wanted to add an extra faith element into each individual team program but in a way that was consistent throughout the year. We were also looking for a way to promote positive interactions with our families and between parent and child through sport. In the few months we have implemented SportsLeader, we have seen the program accomplish what we were hoping!

What were your fears or hesitations with regard to the position beforehand? 
My concern was finding the right person to be the Director of Sports Ministry. Once Kathy Wray was on board, the concern became finding time in the day for her to take on the responsibility, since she already had so many others.

How have those been resolved? 
We were able to adjust our teacher schedules to accommodate one period a day for Kathy to have for Director of Sports Ministry.

What were Kathy’s responsibilities last year and how has it changed this year to give her more time to focus on SportsLeader? 
Last year, Kathy was our Co-Campus Minister responsible for liturgical services; Theology Department Chairperson; Religion teacher. This year, she maintained all of her current roles, but we gave her an extra prep period each day to add Director of Sports Ministries as a responsibility.

What advice would you give to a Principal with regard to this? 
You may have to be creative, but you should take the time to find the right person and give him/her the time to dedicate to the position. The Director of Sports Ministry is a fundamental position to the success of the program. He/she provides the direct support to the coaches, who are applying the program to their teams.

 
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Father-Daughter Jersey Ceremony

 

What has been your experience thus far, Kathy, as Director of Sports Ministry with regard to SportsLeader? What have you seen?

My experience has been very positive. As regards: 
….coaches - many have appreciated a framework to organize what they, at some level, are already doing (mentoring, teaching virtue, including families, including prayer). Our coaches are so generous with their time and sharing of self with their athletes. SportsLeader publicly affirms and thanks them for this generosity. 
….parents - feedback has been very positive and freely offered. At least ½ dozen times, reports have come back to me that parents are talking about SportsLeader at their grade school sporting events with enthusiasm and gratitude. 
...athletes - the girls, in particular, LOVE the mentoring. When I’ve worked directly with the athletes to help them write their “letters to mom”, they move quickly from deer-in-the-headlights to tender, thoughtful two page letters. It’s beautiful. 
….myself - I have been richly blessed getting to know the coaches AND the players who normally wouldn’t be caught dead walking into campus ministry. That is a joy for me.

 
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Football Father-Son Jersey Ceremony.

 

Kathy wanted to be able to speak to the mentoring from personal experience so she made a concrete schedule where she is having a 1 minute session with all 62 of her students, 1 on 1, each week.

She has tracked the progress in numerous areas such as class participation, new students coming to campus ministry, interaction with her as a teacher …. and absolutely everything is improved. This past week, she said her time for volunteer counseling was absolutely full, not a second free for the entire week. That has never happened before this year.

 
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We hope you can join us at the conference in April 2016. More information coming soon.

God bless you!

Virtue = Strength, Lou Judd 
SportsLeader Strength for Life Manual to Teach Virtue

 
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