MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State student-athletes and staff members will once again experience a once-a-lifetime service opportunity, as a group of 15 student-athletes and four staff members will take part in a nine-day trip with the Courts for Kids organization to Nicaragua.
The “Cats Across Continents” team will depart Manhattan for Las Camarcas de la Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua on Saturday and spend nine days experiencing the culture and working with the local community and Courts for Kids teammates building a multi-purpose sports court from the ground up. The court will be utilized by area youth, physical education teachers in addition to being a landing place for community events.
Las Camarcas de la Laguna de Apoyo is a rural community about 5 miles from the city of Granada, which is on the shores of Lake Nicaragua in the southwestern portion of the Central American country.
The 15 student-athletes will include representatives from baseball, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field, and rowing as well as staff members Joni Smoller, Associate AD for Fan Experience and Sales; Dr. Ian Connole, director of sports psychology; Dakota German, video producer; and Blaine Burris, athletic trainer.
“My hope is that this experience is life and perspective changing for our student-athletes,” said Connole. “We are incredibly blessed here at K-State to have beautiful facilities, excellent food to fuel our student-athletes, and far more resources than the majority of the world. But it’s easy to lose sight of that during the daily grind. We’ll be living and working with a community where the average salary is less than $2 per day and the only recreational area for kids is a dirt field that’s locked outside of school hours. That provides perspective. And we’ll be doing really hard physical labor, that’s the real grind. It’s hard not to see things differently after that.”
In addition to building a multi-purpose sports court, the trip will provide many cultural experiences which will include language education, a cooking exchange session in addition to other activities.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to be immersed in a different culture,” said women’s track and field senior student-athlete Keiteyana Parks. “K-State is really cool because we have so many students from all over the world but to actually be somewhere else and have that experience while we’re also there to help them and work with them is really cool, too.”
Sophomore men’s basketball player Pierson McAtee also added it should be a life-changing experience.
“Going to an impoverished area in Nicaragua, getting to experience a different country, different culture, a different style of living and investing in them for a little over a week is going to definitely be a rewarding experience,” said McAtee. “I’ve talked to a lot of people who went to projects over the last couple of years and they said it was really life-changing and eye-opening just how they got to experience how people live day-to-day in a vastly different part of the world.”
K-StateHD.TV will be along to follow the experience, so fans will have the opportunity to view updates on the trip.
• Samantha Bendrick, women’s rowing
• Kayla Brock, women’s rowing
• Marissa Butrum, women’s rowing
• Mitchell Dixon, men’s track and field
• Kaneil Harrison, men’s track and field
• Jordan Lund, women’s rowing
• Pierson McAtee, men’s basketball
• Keiteyana Parks, women’s track and field
• Madison Petersen, women’s rowing
• Grace Reilly, women’s rowing
• Steve Serratore, baseball
• Rhizlane Siba, women’s track and field
• Terrell Smith, men’s track and field
• Zack Supple, men’s track and field
• Zanri van der Merwe, women’s track and field