Patrick Moyer said he would make it "almost mandatory" that students preparing to enter college engage in some type of mission trip or service work.
In July, he led The Fury, a North Georgia fastpitch softball team of 18-year-olds, on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, where they painted buildings, distributed food, visited orphanages and child-care centers, and played games against local all-star teams.
"They came back absolutely changed in the way they see themselves [and] spiritually," Moyer said. "It was life-changing."
The trip was made through Score International, a Chattanooga-based organization that facilitates mission trips throughout the world.
Earlier this month, the organization merged with Rocky Mount, N.C.-based Youth on Mission, which equips and mobilizes domestic mission trips.
Score founder Ron Bishop said the organizations had formed a partnership and eventually decided there was value in bringing the two under the Score banner.
"Score International assumed the assets and liabilities of Youth on Mission," he said.
Youth on Mission has sent out some 60,000 trip participants since 1992 and will retain its trademark and identity for a year before coming under the local organization.
The merger, said Bishop, "will increase our numbers (approximately 75,000 since 1985) and help us to facilitate churches and schools and individual people who want to go on short-term missions in the U.S."
Score, once exclusively a sports mission ministry, has expanded into a multifaceted organization and now operates orphanages, plants churches, offers immersive gap-year student programs and organizes medical mission trips.
Only 30 percent of their trips are now sports-related, Bishop said.
The organization is strongest in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Argentina and Cuba, he said.
Laura Sibold, a coach and dorm parent at Baylor School, accompanied a group of 13 sophomore girls from the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes to the Dominican Republic last spring.
Sibold said the girls did cleaning and brush work and spent time with children in orphanages. However, she said, the most impactful thing they did was meet with girls at The Lily House, a Score-established refuge where prostitutes can escape the streets, gain dignity and train for a better job.
"They were talking to people their age," she said. "They were moved to want to give them money, but the [Dominican Republic] girls said no, they wanted to do it on their own."
The trip made students aware of what they had. During their time in the country, Sibold said, the girls saw people with little or no monetary wealth but a great wealth in "what they had in their heart, what was in their soul."
"They learned that money is not happiness," she said. "They got a good dose of that. They realized they had nothing to complain about."
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...