In southern Oregon, alumni of the Medford Chapter are actively cultivating and sharing the spirit of the Y. Defining themselves as a blend of cheer club and regular chapter, this group of 800 alumni enthusiastically participates in bringing BYU sports to Oregon.
“One of the things that makes us different from all the other chapters is our focus on sports,” says Damian M. Idiart (BA ’96), who along with his wife, Sarah Goold Idiart (BS ’96), leads the Medford Chapter. “That seems to be the most natural way to get everyone involved. Whether you like sports or not, . . . [cheering for the Cougars] is a way to let BYU become a part of your life.”
Driving four hours to Portland to fill the stands for a Cougar basketball game, renting the local movie plex to watch the football team on the big screen, or gathering at the Idiart home each game day dressed in white and blue, the Medford Chapter involves the whole family in representing BYU in southern Oregon.
Not only does the chapter use sports to get involved with BYU, members also use the games to recruit BYU alumni to the area.
“Just a few weeks ago,” Idiart explains, “there was an optometrist from back East who was considering taking a job here. He was in one of our chapels on a Thursday or Friday evening and asked, ‘Are there any BYU people around here? There’s a game this week and I want to watch it with somebody.’ The nice thing was that it wasn’t even one of our alumni who was able to say, ‘Well yeah, they watch it up at the Idiarts’ house and there is always a big group that gets together.’”
The optometrist came to scope out the area for his family and left having found a welcoming congregation of Cougars.
“We just want to let everyone know that BYU is the best quality of school there is and make sure that they can participate in some of the activities,” Idiart says. “So, even if they can’t get out to Provo, we can bring some of those activities here, and that’s how we cultivate the spirit of the Y.”