As the pandemic pall over sports lifts, Sunshine Coast Volleyball Club (SCVC) has returned to court – but with a few changes.
The driving force behind the club for more than 30 years – Jan Richey – has stepped back and Darren Causon has stepped forward as director.
The SCVC now runs three teams (14U, 16U and 18U) and has 39 girls involved competitively. Girls from across the lower Sunshine Coast are invited to try out for the teams – currently there are players from Chatelech (where Causon is also a coach) and Elphinstone Secondary Schools.
The club also recently signed up more than 30 grade six and seven kids for an eight-week training play program.
Causon isn’t new to the club or the sport. When everything shut down in March 2020, Causon – who has been a varsity volleyball player at University of Manitoba and a Team Manitoba assistant coach – was coaching the U16 team. That season didn’t resume and last year, there was no volleyball as Richey had decided to step away.
But, the kids kept asking Causon if volleyball would return – so he decided to make it happen.
“Back in the fall, we made steps of how to go about getting the club back on its feet,” said Causon. “We had to start from basically nothing.
“It’s been a pretty good learning curve. It’s not rocket science but it’s certainly a lot of stuff that behind the scenes.”
Causon and his wife, Donna Findlay, run the club from their kitchen table, with the help of a “small army of volunteers.”
“As a result, the kids get to play, but there’s a whole heck of a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to make that happen.”
There have of course been challenges. They had to find coaches (they’ve managed to find Sara Schutz for the U16 girls, Colin Kelso for the U14 girls and Causon himself coaches the U18 girls).
Then, there was the fuel shortage following the November storms and more COVID restrictions, especially troublesome for the prospect of travelling to tournaments beyond the Lower Mainland. Until recently, they could only face off against Vancouver-area teams. “It’s been different, that’s for sure. But at least we get to play somebody.”
They’ve also rebranded the club – a new colour scheme, new jerseys and sweatshirts.
“It’s rewarding, because all the work that we’ve done in the background, you can actually see that kids, they’re excited to play and they’re excited to wear the jersey.”
In a couple of years that have been so difficult, there’s a joy to seeing the kids back on the courts. “For kids to be able to just go out and play again, is awesome. It’s something for them to do. And something for them to work towards and set some goals and play with their friends.”
There’s another sweet aspect to returning to play.
When the pandemic hit and Causon was coaching the U16 girls – they didn’t get to finish their season. In the new iteration of SCVC, Causon is teaching the U18, and many of those same girls.
“That’s kind of cool that we actually get to finish what we started.”