A local youth sports company is combining an unusual pair of ideas — competitive high school sports and socially-conscious service projects. SixFifty Lacrosse, led by Menlo-Atherton High School lacrosse coach Matt Bond, is planning a summer “Lax & Serve” trip to Costa Rica from June 13-21 for high school boys. Bond, who also serves as the director of the Menlo-Atherton “Grizzlies” Youth Lacrosse program, has been leading teams of high school students from Orange County and the Bay Area on adventurous service-oriented trips to Costa Rica since 2002.
Since that first trip, over 100 students have had the opportunity to serve local communities around the capital city of San Jose, Lake Arenal, and Playa Nosara by facilitating education programs in schools and working on construction projects for a variety of charities. Over the years, trip participants have painted city buildings and churches, refurbished an orphanage, and renovated a recovery center for teenage victims of human trafficking.
The SixFifty trip to Costa Rica this summer has grown out of Bond’s belief that athletic participation is are more than just playing a game but also crucial to the character development of young people. “We talk a lot to our players about sportsmanship and character, on and off the field,” he says. “There’s no better time than high school to teach and provide opportunities for students to creatively engage their gifts and passions to work for social justice and make the world a better place. There are many young men in our area that absolutely love the game of lacrosse, but how many have considered that their passion for a sport could be used to help change a small part of the world and impact lives?”
The SixFifty team this summer will have the opportunity to run sports clinics and teach lacrosse to elementary school children in Lake Arenal and Playa Samara. They’ll also help to renovate a school in Playa Samara and work construction projects on the same recovery center that Bond’s groups have worked on in past trips.
Of course, there will be lots of lacrosse, including twogames against the Costa Rican National Team. That’s good news for the National Team who are hungry for competition. Lacrosse has been taking root in Costa Rica over the past five years, and the National Team’s objective is to compete in the World Lacrosse Championships in Denver in 2014. “We’ll be taking lots of lacrosse equipment with us to donate to the kids programs and the national organization,” says Bond. “The hope is that we can contribute to the growth of the game and partner longer-term with the Costa Rican Lacrosse Association, ”
And yes, it’s Costa Rica so the trip plans also call for lots of surfing, jungle zip-lining, beach BBQ’s, and high adventure.
The SixFifty Lacrosse Costa Rica trip is open to all high school boys lacrosse players from any school in the area. More information and a trip application can be found at sixfiftylacrosse.com or by contacting Coach Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Matt Bond