Thanks to some determined locals, there's a new girls volleyball program in Squamish that came to fruition in mere days.
The Squamish Volleyball Club was sparked by girls' overwhelming demand for the sport at local schools that outstripped the supply of at-school volunteer coaches.
The new club meets once a week and is for girls aged 13 to 18.
It is open to all levels of players.
Sessions run until December at Don Ross Middle School.
According to organizers, the initial six-week stage of this program has drawn significant interest.
In just over a week, the Squamish Volleyball Club has signed up 50 players taking to the court for the inaugural session on Monday night and now has a waitlist of more girls wanting to play.
"Our hope is that this program is able to continue and grow to support as many players as possible who want to join," said volleyball club player Kaida Fieldhouse, a Grade 12 student at Howe Sound Secondary School who has helped spread the word about the program to get it off the ground.
She first started playing volleyball at school in Grade 10.
Asked what she likes so much about the sport, Fieldhouse said she values being part of a team and skill-building.
"I like being able to build my skills in a sport and having, like, a team dynamic and competition," she said. "I think it is really cool how this program is providing access to volleyball for teens, especially girls in Squamish and such a wide range — we have 13 to 18-year-olds playing. I think it is really cool for the older girls to be able to mentor the younger girls and for the younger girls to be able to look up to the older girls."
Due to pandemic restrictions, teens have not been able to participate in many sports over the past two years, Fieldhouse noted.
"This program could provide amazing opportunities for young women in our town, to be introduced to the sport of volleyball, to participate in regular physical activity, to be part of a team, to develop mentorship relationships between girls of different ages, and to further develop volleyball skills to carry on into their post-secondary life," she told The Chief.
Coming together for youth
Local teacher Amber Pascual saw how many girls wanted to play volleyball and that the school programs just couldn't accommodate them, so she decided to see what she could do to help solve the happy problem of so many youth interested in a sport.
"There is a huge need for community and connection for youth and also for kids to be active," she said, adding that volleyball is a great sport, because it welcomes various skillsets and body types.
She then booked a gym and got insurance in place.
She put out a call for high-level volunteer coaches, and seven quickly stepped up.
The coaches have university and college-level volleyball experience, Pascual said.
"I wanted these girls to know that they mattered with high-quality coaches whether they were beginners or novices."
The speed at which it all came together shows what this community can do when called upon, she said.
"These kids need us, and with a simple call out, there are so many skilled, high-level athletes and community members in this town who want to give back. Literally, this problem was solved in a day."
Call for sponsors
While support for the club has been amazing, Pascual said there is still one significant need to fill.
The club seeks a sponsor to help provide shirts, new balls, ball bins and bags, and to possibly help the girls enter a tournament in the spring.
To help the new club, or find out more, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.