ABOUT West Coast Beach Volleyball Society
Welcome to West Coast Beach Volleyball Society!
From what started as a common conversation about the status of beach volleyball in Western Canada (but this time it was on Facebook and lots of people got to talking!), became the early days of what is now West Coast Beach Volleyball Society. That was Aug 2016, and just 5 weeks later, it became a labour of love amongst 7 people, all connected through their love of beach volleyball. We gave ourselves 6 weeks to pull off our first series of fundraising events in November 2016 ... and guys, we raised a whopping $12,000! Serious pokies and jumbo shrimps all around!!!
We created WeCoBeVo to raise funds not only to develop an elite athlete environment for Western Canadians beach athletes to train and thrive on the West Coast, but also in community spirit, we are donating a percentage of all our funds raised to KidSport Vancouver, whose sole focus is to remove financial barriers for kids to participate in and learn from sport.
Our overall goal is to see the entire beach volleyball community become more cohesive and evolve so that the West Coast of Canada is recognized as a place for kids, youth and adults of all levels to enjoy beach volleyball!
So ... wondering why we so are passionate about WeCoBeVo and excited about the prospects, eh?
For starters, Beach Volleyball is alive and well in "We the North" country!
Canada was one of only 4 countries that sent the maximum 4 beach volleyball teams to Rio this past August, in good company with Brazil, the US and the Netherlands. Over 32 million Canadian viewers enjoyed the 2016 Olympics, and watched our athletes bring home more medals than ever before at the Summer Olympics. Beach Volleyball is by far one of the most popular sports at the summer games with matches played the first day and medal matches on the last day.
BUT ... most Canadians are not aware of the financial stress placed upon athletes, and in beach volleyball particularly, it costs $50K-$100K a year for a team of 2 to compete on the FIVB World Tour, of which only a fraction is covered by Sport Canada, tournament winnings and any sponsorship deals the athletes are able to broker on the side. Sponsorship is extremely limited for our Canadian athletes and most are supported by family and friends, and full or part-time jobs on top of their full-time training and travel schedules.
AND, of the 24 beach athletes on the Canadian National team today, only 2 are from BC, 2 from AB and 2 from MB ... and ... 18 from ON. It is quite evident that proximity to the National training centre in Toronto is a huge factor. However, there is definitely no lack of talent and desire in Western Canada for athletes that can and want to represent Canada, so we want to change the landscape and give them a place to train and thrive out here on the West Coast!
First up is providing funds to Western Canadian beach athletes to compete at the U21 Worlds Trials, which are March 21-22 in Toronto. If any of our supported athletes come first or second, they qualify to represent Canada at the U21 World Championships in Najing, China June 13-18. They do have to self-fund their way to Worlds, so we are planning for ways to help them out!
Next up is the issue of child poverty and how it plays into our mission.
Vancouver's child poverty is 20%, and because we call this place home, we want to do our part to help.
Playing sports is very integral to the development of children as it gives them a place to explore and blow off some steam and energy perhaps, but also make new friends, gain confidence and learn critical life skills around teamwork, communication and negotiation.
KidSport Vancouver's mission is to remove financial barriers for kids to participate in sport, so that fewer and fewer kids are let on the sidelines. They have a great system set up to receive applications, review and determine recipients, as well as distribute funding accordigly. We could not think of a better way than to ask them to put their expertise to work and help some kiddos get out and play beach volleyball!
For good measure, we hit the ground running knowing that our Presdient, Rio Beach Volleyball Olympian Ben Saxton, was only going to be in town for a couple more months during his off-season. Who doesn't love an ambitious deadline anyway?! We had a sincerely audacious goal of raising $5,000 but through our team's determination and the incredible support we received from the beach and business communities, we raised almost $12,000!!
With just 6 weeks to fully plan and execute, on Nov 16th, 2016 we held the 1st Annual Co-ed Play with the Pros tournament and silent auction at 6Pack Indoor Beach. Over 65 sponsors chipped in silent auction donations, their time and energy, and showed us just how wonderful the Vancouver business community is when you take the initiative to share with them where there is need.
Between Nov 20th and 28th, we held 5 Youth, Adult and Co-ed training and skills clinics with Ben Saxton.
On Nov 29th, we co-hosted a Volleybal Social and Private Shop with the Vancouver Beach Volleyball Lovers and Socialites and celebrated with friends at RYU Apparel's flagship store in Kits, where everyone enjoyed catered food by the amazing gals at Fitness Foods, bevvies by Driftwood Brewery, DJ music and a private shopping experience.
To wrap our month-long launch, we gathered together 15 of the lower mainland's upcoming youth beach athletes and had them join Olympian Ben and his trainer, Anthony Agtarap from Engineered Bodies to learn the best ways to train and mobilize their bodies so as to prevent injury and provide a platform for building strength and skill.
With that $12,000, we shored up expenses including some long-term investment items, and now we are already putting the remaining to work by releasing an application on Dec 14th, 2016 for U21 Worlds Trials support. Next up will be NORCECA 2018 trials and subsequent tour funding needs, and in the interim during 2017, we will be developing the structure for athletes to train and thrive on the West Coast of Canada! We will be making our donation to KidSport Vancouver soon and are elated to help them with their mission.
None of this would have been possible except for amazing team work, our volunteers, tremendous support from our sponsors and partners, and the enthusiasm of the beach volleyball community. The words "thank you" just do not seem enough so we are going to strive to continually share and give the love year-round!
Please reach out to me or any of our Board of Directors with questions, suggestions and offers of support (wink wink!) Otherwise, keep current on our events and news, and opportunities to get involved (psst ... we need a Director of Communications & Marketing to serve on our Board of Directors).
Executive Director, West Coast Beach Volleyball Society
Board of Directors - Learn About Us
President - Ben Saxton
Executive Director - Jodi McIntosh
Director of Events - Jana Weir
Director of Corporate Relations - Dr. Alex Rosenczweig
Director of Volleyball Relations - Brian Hiebert
Director of Marketing & Communications - TBA
Head of Selection Committee / Board Liaison - Lisa Tam