The Athletic Association began early in 1995 with a conversation between two parishioners with
kids who loved sports. Feeling the parish youth could only benefit from the creation of a sports
program, these two parishioners approached Fr. Bill Finnegan and Fr. Tom Libera for guidance,
encouragement and support. With much enthusiasm and the blessing of Fr. Bill, the Athletic
Association was born and kicked off in the fall of 1995 with 32 young men, grades 6 through 8,
forming three teams playing local churches and joining the St. Germaine Basketball League.
We were off and running! The spring of 1996 saw the addition of girls’ soccer to the roster
and that fall the girls’ basketball program began. In the spring of 1997 boys’ soccer was added
to the line-up and the sports program was rounded out with the addition of girls’ and boys’
volleyball in 1998. Through the persistent efforts of several parishioners, soccer fields were
secured in 2000 and home games are now held at the Palos West School grounds. Because of the labors
and financial contributions of many Our Lady of the Woods parishioners a new gymnasium/multipurpose
room has been constructed and been in operation since the spring of 2002. We are now able to host
basketball and volleyball league games for boys and girls.
In the spring of 2012, the Athletic
Association moved from the Parish Life Commission to the newly renamed Education/Formation Commission.
At that time the Athletic Association was formally renamed the Children’s Athletic Ministry.
The Children’s Athletic Ministry participates in various southwest Chicago and suburban leagues.
The basketball and volleyball programs are open to 4th through 8th graders, while our soccer program
begins in the first grade. All participants are required to be registered parishioners of Our Lady
of the Woods and be enrolled in our REP with an attendance rate of 80%. We sponsor one major fundraiser
a year, usually in the fall. The Children’s Athletic Ministry takes great pride in being the second
largest ministry at Our Lady of the Woods.
The Children’s Athletic Ministry falls under the guidance
of our pastor, Rev. Michael Foley and is composed of a governing board of parishioners with and without
children in the program. The construction of the gymnasium/multipurpose room has enabled the expansion
of programs to include open gym for children, teen-agers and adults and fitness walking.