by Rob Zakula Jr., recreation-athletics specialist, Olympic Corrections Center
On Thursday, Aug. 13, members of the Saints Prison Ministry, a cross-denominational gospel group and softball team, traveled to Olympic Corrections Center for a special event of testimonials and competitive games.
The chaplain and recreation director co-sponsored, planned and supervised the evening’s program. Custody staff, records, a community service crew, wastewater/maintenance workers and an infield cleanup led by offender recreation assistants provided great help in event preparation.
The Saints Ministry played against the OCC All-Stars, a nominated and screened offender roster representing the camp’s five regular league teams. As per incentive-based program events, All-Star members must be 30-days infraction free, exhibit pro-social behavior and uphold team expectations.
Two 90-minute games were scheduled for the evening event.
Over 80 offender spectators from all three minimum living units enthusiastically attended. In the first matchup the Saints defeated the All-Stars with exciting base-loaded home-runs and doubles, however the All-Stars came back to win the second game with excellent infield defense and a responsive outfield.
In between games the Saints Ministry presented testimonials and spiritual stories to the offender team and spectators in attendance. Offenders, staff and outside team members all contributed to a positive, well-received event.
The Saints’ mission is to share the Christian faith and Gospel with inmates through sports/athletics and to mentor them toward spiritual maturity as they successfully transition into family and community.
Members of the team, mostly from the East Coast and Midwest, raise funds to cover their travel costs and many use vacation leave time from full-time employment to participate. On this weeklong trip to the Pacific Northwest, Saints players visited numerous Washington DOC and Oregon prison facilities, including Olympic, Clallam Bay, Stafford Creek and Larch corrections centers.