USAV Awards Grants to 3 Regions, 1 Club

By Bill Kauffman | March 24, 2014, 5:07 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 24, 2014) – USA Volleyball has awarded three Boys’ Development Subsidy Grants and a GRO (Grassroots Outreach Clinic) grant for the 2014 season.

The Badger Region and North Country Region were each awarded $11,000 for their USAV Boys’ Development Subsidy Grant application, while the North Texas Region received a partial Boys’ Development Subsidy grant with an opportunity to receive additional funding. The Kewaunee Area Junior Volleyball Club was selected for a $500 GRO grant.

The USA Volleyball Boys’ Development Subsidy Grant, which awards up to $11,000 per grant application, is available to USA Volleyball Regional Volleyball Associations that have a strong desire to create and/or expand programming for youth boys’ volleyball in their region. Through this grant program, USA Volleyball continues to prioritize and support initiatives for the development of boys’ volleyball programming across the United States.

The GRO grant, which awards up to $500 per grant application, is available to USA Volleyball Regional Volleyball Associations, clubs, grassroots programs or individuals that wish to further training of coaches, players and/or parents through clinics or various programming.

One purpose behind the two grants is to assist membership growth within the 40 Regional Volleyball Associations. Earlier this year USA Volleyball reached 300,000 full memberships for the first time in its history.

Badger Region
The goals for the Badger Boys’ Programming Initiative is a three-prong approach that educates its existing coaches and players, expands its sphere of influence in Wisconsin and exposes its members and those in Wisconsin to boys’ volleyball. To reach these goals, the Badger Region will use the Boys’ Subsidy Grant to:

  • host a coaching clinic in conjunction with the WIAA Boys’ State Volleyball Tournament in Milwaukee in mid-November
  • expand intermural middle school programs in the Milwaukee area this spring
  • hosting a Kenosha Players’ Clinic where the interest is high but area largely underdeveloped
  • a trip to the NCAA Men’s Championship in Chicago to expose region athletes to elite level of volleyball
  • expanding its Badger Boys Series program that makes it easy for clubs to add 12-and-under teams at little to no cost
  • conducting Sister/Brother Clinics where a girl must bring a boy 14-or-under related or not in order to register for the clinic in order to expand contact information for interested boys
  • hosting a Boys’ Sand Clinic
  • hire a boys’ development intern

“As volleyball continues to gain momentum in Wisconsin, we are conscious of an increased interest in the boys’ discipline both at the high school and club levels,” the Badger Region wrote in its grant application. “Boys’ high school volleyball isn’t experiencing rapid growth, but the sport has maintained steady participation numbers despite minimal opportunity and resources. While boys’ high school programs have maintained interest but limited growth, boys’ club volleyball has seen steady growth over the past five club seasons, with almost 100 new players joining Badger Region.”

North Country Region
The North Country Region (NCR) will use the USAV Boys’ Development Subsidy Grant to focus on its new Boys’ Volleyball Club and its second-year NCR Educational Skills Clinics.

The NCR Boys’ Volleyball Club has 34 participants in its inaugural season. The club includes travel teams for 18-1 and 15-1 age groups, as well as an in-house 12-1 team with five coaches working with the three teams. The grant will assist with NCR boys’ club membership fees, uniforms, tournament entry fees, officiating clinic and start-up equipment. The grant money will also assist marketing efforts and exposure around the Twin Cities metro area to expand participation numbers.

Both the 18-1 and 15-1 teams will compete in the NCR April Classic on April 12, followed by the NCR Area Championships on April 26. The 12-1 team is currently taking part in the in-house season that started on March 2 and continues through April 20.

Aside from the three teams within the club, NCR will conduct Educational Skills Clinics for boys in the fall. In 2013, the clinic was held at six different schools with 19 total sessions reaching over 300 participants. The NCR Educational Skills Clinics emphasizes basic passing, setting and serving with maximum player participation and volleyball touches. The NCR anticipates reaching 350 boys through the Educational Skills Clinics during the 2014-15 season with a major goal to extend its area of service into rural Minnesota.

North Texas Region
North Texas Region (NTR) has had pockets of boys’ teams scattered throughout the region for some time, but with no real formal growth initiative for the future. Along with the traditional boys’ programming, the NTR also plans to introduce sitting and beach volleyball in hopes of getting these newer programs to gain interest not only with the youth boys’ population, but with the coaching staff and girls programs. With assistance from the USAV grant, NTR hopes to gain momentum for continued and sustained growth for seasons to come.

NTR plans to market to existing programs and help clubs with funding such as grants or fees if they include youth boys’ teams. With its two-court facility, NTR goal is to offer court space at discounted rates to these clubs with boys’ programming so they do not conflict with practice time for existing girls’ programs. It has already established Thursday Night Boys’ Open Gym. NTR will also create a region brochure geared toward promote boys’ and youth programs, in addition to conducting a coaches’ clinic for instruction designed for boys’ teams.

NTR’s short-term goal for 2014 is to enlist coaches and staff to implement a boys’ youth league, while providing stipends to coaches and individual grants to clubs which designate boys’ program. As part of the grant, uniform shirts will be provided to formed teams.

As part of its long-term goal for the subsidy grant, NTR will kick off 2014 with youth and boys’ designated clinics, camps and formation of leagues. The goal is to have teams form for participation in regional events with focus on expanded training for individual growth from developmental to mid-range talent to more advanced, elite players. NTR will subsidize the membership fee for boys’ development. Funds will also be used to develop coaching staffs through IMPACT, coaching clinics and officials clinics to focus on male players and their specific training.

Kewaunee Area Junior Volleyball Club
Kewaunee Area Junior Volleyball Club (KAJVC), a relatively small club based out of rural Kewaunee Wis., was awarded the GRO grant to bring in a national level clinician for a two-day skills clinic. Attendees will be charged a fee for the clinic so that there is more buy-in and a sufficient budget for a top level clinician, but the grant will make the fee attainable for players who have a high commitment to the sport. KAJVC's members and coaches come from four surrounding communities, and that multi-school district nature of KAJVC is one of its strengths because none of the communities are of sufficient size to field high quality tournament teams on their own.

Since its inception in 2007, KAJVC has had as its mission to improve the caliber of play in the area. While that has certainly been happening because of the increased playing time and good coaching during the club season, the distance to a major city makes it prohibitive for players to attend high quality camps and clinics in order to keep their skills honed. The rural nature also means that clinicians are more expensive and less available to come to the area.

“The Grassroots Outreach grant would provide an outstanding opportunity to improve the skills of players in the school districts that KAJVC includes, and to increase the exposure of USAV to more players,” KAJVC wrote in its grant application.