Joshua Schipper
Video/Digital Content/Graphic Design Producer
March 26, 2024 // Diocese

Volleyball League Serves Up Fellowship to Young Adults

Joshua Schipper
Video/Digital Content/Graphic Design Producer

In a recent Meta-Gallup survey, 24 percent of respondents who are 15 and older reported feeling very or fairly lonely, with young adults ages 19 to 29 leading the loneliness cohort. To combat this epidemic of isolation, experts have suggested forging connections with others, but to some young adults, there may not be a great opportunity to do so.

Coming back from school in Indianapolis, Courtney McGrew saw a need to bolster the young adult community at her home parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Fort Wayne. After brainstorming with Parochial Vicar Father Jacob Schneider, an encounter at Theology on Tap connected her to a handful of peers who also recognized a need for opportunities for young adults to connect.

Photos by Joshua Schipper
Shea Steenport prepares to serve the ball during a match at the gymnasium at Queen of Angels Parish on Wednesday, March 20. Steenport is a member of one of seven teams vying for volleyball dominance in the inaugural season of the Catholic Young Adult recreation league.

“I heard Alec [DeVries] come up to a friend of mine at the table, and he’s like, ‘We want to start intramurals, but we just need some people to get together to help plan it. Do you want to be a part of it?’ And I just kind of scooted over and said, ‘Yeah, I want to help!’”

Throughout the next several days, the group met with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese.

“And from there, we pretty much were able to get the bare bones of the volleyball league planned and recruited more young adults to help us execute. And the rest is history,” McGrew said.

Now in its inaugural season, the Catholic Young Adult recreation league (CYA) – run for young adults by young adults – is made up of seven teams competing for dominance in volleyball during the course of seven Wednesday evenings.

“A lot of teams were made of individuals who might not have known each other, and so, we’re seeing a lot of new friendships being formed,” McGrew said.

“We’re seeing collegial play. People are just coming out and having fun, and I think that [it’s] great to have the opportunity to make these new friendships, to play for the sake of play, to exercise, and to have fun. It’s been going great so far.”

Ultimately, this new ministry aims to host several seasons of varying sports throughout the year. And, as the local community grows, more opportunities for connection will blossom.

“There’s been some conversation about, maybe we have dance lessons leading up to a ball of some sort,” McGrew said. “We’ve had some talks about maybe just a day at a park and maybe a cookout and just invite people to come play cornhole, go on a hike, or play frisbee – just really ways to bring people together and to experience our city in a new way.”

John Pratt, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese, keeps score during the first game of the evening.

As many have found, young adulthood does not last forever. McGrew said that CYA might help to prepare young adults for their next steps in life by fostering connections with other people, whether that be young mothers becoming friends across parishes or making connections to help advance one’s career.

“Not only is it faith and friendship connections, but we’re making connections that could help us in our occupation; we’re making connections that further things at our parish. Young married couples are coming out and meeting other young married couples whom they didn’t know, and now they have this new connection to walk with through their life together. So, there’s many different ways that this could benefit people, whether they are in college, college grad, married, or single.”

For young adults who might be a bit hesitant to get out and make connections, McGrew said that there are a lot of people who are also getting out for the first time, “and they’re looking for the same things you are.”

Teams pray before and after each game. The first prayer unites the team by calling players to have good sportsmanship, respect for opponents, and thanking God for the ability to exercise and have fun. The second prayer reaffirms gratitude for the opportunity to come together through sports.

“The young adult community is the future of the Church in our area,” McGrew said. “And with the increasing amounts of isolation, and especially post-pandemic, I just felt like, of course, we needed to have more young adult events. The zeal that I have for it, or the need, was that when I was in Indianapolis for school, I just saw how positive an impact having regular social events that drew people out from different parishes, who are from different circles, and they meet and they gather. Whether you were catching up with someone that you’ve known for five years or meeting someone new, people were just renewing friendships, and renewing community, and learning something new about ways they can get involved [in our diocese].”

For updates on the next CYA season, or if you have a child or grandchild who should get involved, visit for more information.

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