The Cusabo Nation Lacrosse mission is to expand awareness and opportunities to play youth lacrosse, increase diversity of players and affordability, and assist in providing excellent facilities, fields and instruction.

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South of Broad Magazine Article:

Neighborhood News - Kids 2 Kids by Megan Holmes

The history of lacrosse and how it got all the way to Charleston
is as rich as the stories told by the Native American tribes who
gave it a name. It first made its way to the youth of the greater
Charleston area six years ago when the town of Mt. Pleasant
started a recreational program. However, there has never been a
program for children living on the peninsula of Charleston until
visionaries Laurie Yarborough, Robert Hagood, Dan Russler and
Donovan Smith founded Cusabo Nation Lacrosse, a non-profit
501c3 in January of 2014. Their shared vision coupled with a creative
partnership with the City of Charleston Rec Department,
was to create a program that would teach players self-discipline,
selflessness, leadership, lifelong fitness and teamwork through the
sport of lacrosse. Cusabo Nation Lacrosse is a value based program
with dedicated, passionate, US Lacrosse certified coaches,
many of whom played in high school and/ or college.


In the last year, Cusabo Nation Lacrosse has grown exponentially
and now offers an expansive program including a Spring
Rec league– running from mid-February through April, Summer
Travel Team running from mid-May through June and a
Fall Ball clinic running from October through mid-December.
In addition to this, they offer free “Learn to Play” clinics
designed to expose children with little access to funds or equipment.
Cusabo even started a high school team designed for high
school aged players that do not have access to a school team of
their own acting on the Cusabo mantra: “learn it, live it, and
give it.”


Cusabo is a Native American term referring to a family of Indian
tribes along the South Carolina coast, including the Ashepoo,
Combahee, Coosa, Edisto, Escamacu, Etiwan, Kiawah,
Stono, Wando, and Wimbee. This tribal Cusabo family banded
together for survival. Much like the Native American Indian
families, Cusabo Nation Lacrosse is family run and is an entirely
self funded not for profit organization.


The Cusabo founders dreamed the dream of lacrosse being
played on the peninsula but there were some fundamental logistics
that needed to be addressed before anyone got to actually
play stick and ball. The first obstacle was finding a location for
practices and games because as we know, Charleston is a small,
desirable city with limited green space on the peninsula not
being eyed by developers.


A regulation lacrosse field is 110 yards long by 60 yards wide.
During the early days, founder Robert Hagood recalls talking
to landscape architect and Deputy of Parks, Jason Kronsburg,
about his dream and was informed that the City of Charleston
had a tract of 14 acres in a land bank on the northern tip of the
peninsula referred to as “Hall II” fields. Hagood ran the calculations
in his head and figured this was not only large enough to
fit one lacrosse field but possibly 6. If they could use this field it
meant that Cusabo Nation Lacrosse could invite other teams to
play and integrate the lacrosse community. After speaking with
Laurie Yarborough, Director of the City Rec Department, Mayor
Joe Riley was asked about the use of the “Hall II” fields. The
Cusabo Nation Lacrosse founders were given miraculous news;
the mayor and the town council of the City of Charleston, had
granted Cusabo a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the
use of the “Hall II” fields. In the “if you build it he will come”
spirit, they had their green space but now they had to build the
program. The dream was slowly becoming a reality. The City


of Charleston granted the use of this land on one condition,
Cusabo Nation Lacrosse had to promote, teach, and grow the
sport of lacrosse for the children of the City of Charleston and
provide equipment and funds for those who could not afford it.
“The birth of Cusabo was made possible by a government and
community partnership which could not have been achieved
without both entities working together as a team,” says cofounder
Dan Russler.


To grow the program the Cusabo founders had to find willing
participants who shared their passion for the sport of lacrosse.
The City of Charleston Recreation Department has limited
funding and was unable to allocate money towards a start up
lacrosse program; however they pledged to do whatever they
could if the Cusabo founders could get funding. The Cusabo
Nation Lacrosse founders made it their mission to raise funds
through an entirely parent led grass roots initiative. They called
upon friends, families and neighbors to join forces and raise
money and awareness about this growing sport and promote the
positive impact it would have on Charleston’s youth. Not only
has Cusabo Nation Lacrosse registered over 150 players in its
first year, it is on track to double enrollment in 2015. Thanks to
generous community members who graciously donated large
containers to store equipment on the field and others who have
donated time and equipment, it is a viable far reaching program.
If it takes a village to start a lacrosse program then there
is a new village and it’s called Cusabo. In the words of Thomas
Spigner, the Youth Sports Coordinator Peninsula, “the greater
the obstacle the more glory in overcoming it.”


Cusabo takes its commitment to its 501c3 status and promise
to the City of Charleston to provide a lacrosse program to all
children on the peninsula very seriously and last month cosponsored
a free “Learn to Play” clinic with Bitter Lacrosse and
the City Rec Department. During this “Friday Night Lights”
event at Harmon Field, children who had never heard of the
sport called lacrosse and had no access to equipment were given
sticks and instruction by talented coaches and professional players
determined to spread the love of the game to those who
may never get the opportunity to play. Cusabo Nation Lacrosse
is provoking real change in our community. Thanks to the harmonious
collaborative effort between government, community
and parents this volunteer run organization is well on its way to
changing the lives of children on the peninsula through the love
of athletics.


In the interest of the village, and in the words of Syracuse
lacrosse great, Matt Abbott, “Play for the guy standing next to
you.” Come out this spring and support the Cusabo players at
“Hall II” fields and for more information on Cusabo’s program
please visit their website at: