The sun is finally here and warmer weather means more chances to get outside. Here at UGM, staff also encourage men and women in our program to get outside too. Physical activity and finding healthy avenues for fun is an important part of the recovery process.
“In recovery, it’s important for our clients to find things that they like doing that doesn’t have to do with their former life – new passions and exciting things they haven’t visited since they were a kid.” Says Tessa Pattison, Simonka Place Counselor. “A lot of homeless never have had an opportunity to play a sport at all, this gives them a chance to get out and try.” says Michael Durrant, UGM Transitions Case Manager.
This time of year, we take out our baseball bats and mitts for a few weeks of softball. The co-ed softball team consists of 12 men and 12 women (New Life Fellowship members and a few staff). 2017 was the first year the team has organized as part of a league to play against other teams in the area.
“It’s a growing ministry. This year is the first year we have had uniforms that are ours that we don’t have to borrow from another church. A donor came in with that because they found out internally. We’re beginning to pick up a little momentum.” Says Scott Raska, UGM Learning Center Administrator.
While there are many physical benefits to getting out and having fun, we also see this as an opportunity for growth.
“New Life Fellowship members are making new associations with sports. A lot of our guys associate sports with drinking and now there is a healthy fellowship. That emotional and mental tie will be broken and establish new meaning and relationship to it.” says Raska. “It’s a safe area to not only experience success but honestly deal with disappointment because things don’t always go the way we want them to go. It’s a way to deal with that in a healthy environment.”
From April to July, the UGM softball team competes with other church teams around Salem. Everyone is welcome to come cheer on the team and give some encouragement. “That means so much to them. Someone who just comes to support from afar.” says Tessa Pattison.
Supporting our recovery participants through sports is another volunteer outlet for our community. Robert Rempel, our Volunteer Coach, says he could use some more people to come and help during practice. “We have men and women who haven’t played for years and need some extra help to get more comfortable. We need more people to come help volunteer at practice.”
If you’d like to get involved in helping volunteer or support the team, contact Hannah Berry, Volunteer Coordinator, at 503.967.6388 for more info. If you want to come out and cheer for the UGM team, check out the schedule below: