Local youth, Dylan Coffey (21) of Carlyle, son of Cameron and Lois Coffey, has been selected to participate in a program called Athletes in Action (AIA) and is currently searching for sponsorships to help him achieve his goals.
Dylan is in his fourth year at the University of Regina, where he has been in engineering for the past three years. At the U of R he has the pleasure of playing on the Cougars volleyball team.
"[Athletes in Action] is an organization that comes to athletes who they feel try to incorporate faith into their sport and share stories about overcoming diversity through their faith and God," Dylan explained. "This is a group of athletes sharing faith."
Dylan first became interested in the program when former U of R athletes came to speak a couple of years ago. This year however, Dylan was speaking with a teammate who was already involved and became convinced that attending a couple of meetings would be a good idea.
At these meetings Dylan discovered that he was a kindred spirit of other athletes who had already participated in the program.
"There's different Cougar athletes that have been a part of AIA and they kind of just shared their stories," Dylan said. "And a lot of their stories are similar to mine and I think that's how I got to like the organization."
Dylan will be travelling with other Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletes as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association meaning there are a variety of athletes set to attend from across Canada with two, Dylan and his teammate, to attend from the U of R.
The AIA team will be leaving for Costa Rica on Aug. 9 and will return on Aug. 26.
"I believe the total cost right now is $3,500," Dylan stated. "I'm looking for sponsorship and I'm also looking into scholarships from the university. There's a U of R international scholarship that they give to students travelling abroad for sport or school that they like to give scholarships for so I'm looking into that."
Dylan is currently taking summer courses, which has made it difficult for him to work during the summer months to earn enough for attending the program.
The volleyball player really wants to attend, not just to train and play against the Costa Rica national men's team as well as university and elite club teams, but to visit with the youth there about sport and faith.
"[My goals are to] basically reach out to the younger kids, those that may not have as much, and getting them to see that even though they face adversity, that they might not have the best life, they do have a life and they can improve upon that life through faith through trying to incorporate faith and sport as a way to get them going," Dylan stated.
Though Dylan feels his challenges have been different over the years than what youth in Costa Rica may be going through, but is confident that through sport these different challenges become something that can be dealt with through the skills and the faith found in sport.
"My difficulties have just been like overcoming an injury or getting out of the shadows of my older sisters, but I think a lot of challenges related to sport can be related to everyday life," Dylan explained, which is what he hopes to instill in the youth he meets in Costa Rica.