U.S. Sitting Volleyball Program Selected for $100,000 Grant

By Bill Kauffman | Feb. 28, 2014, 1:34 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 28, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sitting Volleyball Program has been awarded a $100,000 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs grant through U.S. Paralympics to be used in 2014. While the program has been awarded the grant three previous times, this year’s amount is the largest it has received.

The funding is part of the U.S. Paralympics Integrated Adaptive Sports Program, which aims to plan, develop, manage and implement an integrated adaptive sports program for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.

The U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams Program will use this funding to support the identification, recruitment and training of emerging or elite level injured military members and veterans in sitting volleyball towards national team status. The grant will assist the program in holding A2 training camps and competition opportunities. Funds will also be used to support military athletes who are selected to take part in national team activities, including competition events, and to conduct educational piece this summer.

“We are excited to receive this grant and we understand it is a privilege for us to receive it,” said Bill Hamiter, program director for the U.S. Women’s and Men’s Sitting Volleyball Teams. “The funds will be enormously impactful for us to run the A2 program, but also affect the lives of veterans that have faithfully served our country. This grant directly contributes to building the National Team pipeline.”

The A2 program will hold its first 2014 training camp March 20-23 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Okla., where the program is headquartered. The U.S. Men’s Sitting A2 Team will play a series of friendly matches with Canada as part of a joint training session April 3-6 in Ottawa, Canada. The A2 team will then prepare for competition at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in Phoenix, May 25-28. The team will complete the grant year with three additional training camps at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“While we have been fortunate to receive funding in previous years to support the expenses associated with training potential athletes from the military, this year’s grant will be enormously impactful in our efforts to continue to grow the game across the United States,” said Elliot Blake, coordinator of U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams Program. “Not only will we be able to continue to provide training to emerging athletes as we identify them, but we can also finally bring together our volleyball leaders and representatives from the VA, put them in a room, and hopefully create a plan for sitting volleyball programming to be offered in several communities across the U.S.”

It is anticipated that in August, representatives from Veteran Affairs centers, USAV Region offices, juniors/adult volleyball clubs and disabled sports clubs from 8-10 communities will be invited to a Sitting Volleyball Summit to discuss developing sitting volleyball programming, share best practices and resources and other support items.