Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – While lacrosse is a popular sport in Central New York, a former coach and player has been spreading the game to places you may not expect.
Fields of Growth, was started four years ago by Kevin Dugan and looks to spread the game across the world and is getting help from the Central New York lacrosse community to do it.
The organization has taken the game to Uganda and most recently Jamaica.
Kelsey Madden, a volunteer with Fields of Growth who grew up in Marcellus, says to see the sport played by others in the world is a site to behold.
"You're seeing these kids throw crazy dodges and spinning their sticks like batons and that's still open in this game because we're still adapting, we're still changing it, so I think that's why on a global platform it works so well,” said Madden.
Madden heard about the program a few years ago while helping with a youth lacrosse clinic in Marcellus
When she got the invite to join Fields of Growth for a trip to launch the program in Jamaica, she didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance.
"To have an organized sport in the community they were like, ‘Yea, we got nothing to do today, school is out for Christmas break, let's go.’ Just seeing how eager they were to play was awesome, a lot of them were just such natural athletes,” said Madden.
Kelsey says it hasn't been too difficult to get donations for things the program needs such as lacrosse equipment.
"I think one of the most overwhelming things before I got there was from when I received their email inviting me to go to when I left. I had about three weeks to get equipment and I ended up filling almost my entire apartment,” Madden said.
Fields of Growth is about much more than just growing the game, it's about harvesting that passion for lacrosse and turning it into community service and global leadership.
"We're handing them a bag of flour, of rice, of things they can actually use. His big thing is sustainability. We don't want to go to these countries and put a stick in these kids hands and one meal in their mouths and walk away because it's a terrible thing to do, to give them that hope and not stay there," Madden said.
Madden says the program is flourishing in Uganda and catching on in Jamaica and she hopes that her upcoming donation drive will help the program to grow even more.
If you are interested in donating, the drive will be at Marcellus Park - the open air market - on Thursday, August 8 from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm
The organization will be collecting donations like sticks, helmets, pads, shoes and clothes.
To learn more about Field of Growth, you can visit their website here