The New Vision
Cut to the Core

Catholic schools offer Christian-based youth sports
Diocese of Tucson honored for work with national program

American FootballBy SHERI DAHL
The New Vision

Each year we in the Diocese of Tucson learn so much about our work in Catholic education from the mutual collaboration of programs we have with the University of Notre Dame.
One program in which we have been participating for the last three years is, called “Play Like a Champion Today,” which focuses on coaching as a ministry and what that means to student-athletes, coaches and parents.
Every year, our Diocesan youth sports director attends an annual conference in South Bend, Ind.  Last year, the program recognized the Diocese of Tucson for its work on Standard Operating Procedure for Safe Environment training for coaches and youth coaches.  This year, The Department of Catholic Schools is proud to announce that the Diocese of Tucson’s youth sports program was again honored by the program on June 21 for our work in making sure parents are trained in the Play Like a Champion Today philosophy.  The implementation of the parent education piece has resulted in a more comprehensive and effective program for the children and their families.
Erica Cornett, diocesan youth sports co-director, and Laura Van Moorleghem, the Athletic Director at St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Tucson, attended the three-day conference to continue their education in the program and to return to Tucson with valuable tools to better incorporate the program’s methods within the diocesan youth sports league.  The conference was jam-packed with inspirational workshops in order to help partners continue to “change the culture of sports”.
Both directors came back rejuvenated and excited to share the information they learned from the conference with those involved in the youth sports program so that it can continue to become a more Christian-based competitive league.
As program director Kristin Sheehan said, “Each year, we honor a ‘Play Like A Champion’ program partner for their contribution to changing the culture of sports. This year we selected the two partners who moved to making parent workshops mandatory throughout this school year: the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Tucson. We spoke to conference participants about the importance of the parent program, the strength of leadership needed to require this workshop and the rigor of implementing it across a league. We introduced Erica and Laura and invited them forward to receive the honor on behalf of the Diocese of Tucson.”