DIGBY, N.S. – The Digby Area Volleyball Club was started in 2012 with just 16 girls and has now grown to 60.
For club founder and president Sharyn Hiscock, volleyball was a family affair.
Growing up in Newfoundland, her dad was her volleyball coach and her three sisters all played as well. When she started the club in Digby, she was the only volleyball coach in the area. But thanks to her efforts, there are now six certified coaches.
“Volleyball is one of the biggest female sports in Atlantic Canada,” Hiscock says. “The provincials are held over two weekends and there are hundreds of teams competing.”
Hiscock started out just helping coach some of the high school teams, but soon decided there was enough interest to form the club. Now they have girls coming from Clare and Annapolis to play.
“It’s really grown,” Hiscock says. “I’m so happy. We have won at least one provincial medal per year since we started. That’s in tier 2 or 3 – we’ve never played tier 1.”
Hiscock says the club starts girls in Grade 5 and last year had their first athlete play for Team Nova Scotia. Girls who want to play pay between $250 and $300, depending on their age, and the club fundraises the rest of the expenses. Hiscock says that sounds like a lot, but she works hard at fundraising to ensure parents don’t have to spend another cent.
This year, the club has six teams – two U13, one U14, one U15 and two U16.
“Volleyball gives them something to be passionate about and kind of focuses their time away from alternative or negative things,” Hiscock says. “But it also gives them a sense of teamwork – as soon as they walk in that gym – they have to get along so we push for that,” Hiscock says. “They have to work as a group.”
Hiscock says the girls come back all the time to tell her how grateful they are to her and to the club.
“They were so happy they got the opportunity to play,” she says.
And with the club expanding, she’s dreaming big.
“While the club has a recreational focus, we’ll train the athletes that we feel can be pushed a lot harder,” Hiscock says. “My goal is to someday be a tier 1 program – possibly in three years. We have some very talented young athletes coming through, girls who would play six days a week if I let them.
“Yeah, we’re pretty proud of it.”
Element: You can find out more about the club on the Facebook page: Digby Area Volleyball Club.
WHY PLAY VOLLEYBALL
Oceanne Blinn, 16 years old:
“I really like the sport and it’s a good activity. I’ve been playing for about three years. It’s really fun so far being in the club, we learn a lot of things. Maybe when I get into university, I might play there. It’s a really competitive sport, and it’s just fun. Yes, I’m very competitive. I like to win.”
Janelle Andrews, 15:
“I play volleyball because it’s a good team sport and I’m a very team-oriented person. I enjoy it and it’s fun growing with the girls. I started in Grade 7 so it’s been fun. It’s a good pastime when you’re not in school. It’s a good experience, it teaches you how to behave around people and how to respect people.
“We always bring home a medal from provincials – I’ve won two silver medals and one bronze – every year we bring home a medal. I play soccer in the summer too.
“I don’t think I’ll play in university – but I’d like to coach one day – Sharyn lets people who graduate come back and coach and I would love to do that one day.”
Stacey Andrews, 15:
“This is my second season with the club – I play in high school and for the club. I like that it’s a team sport. I want to take it all the way to the end of high school, it would be amazing if I could take it into university, but that’s not my main plan right now. I play because I like to stay fit, but it’s also a lot of fun.
“There are only a few sports that I like and volleyball is definitely one of my favourites. There are so many different aspects for defence and offence. Last year for club we went to provincials. We go every year. I think we placed third. I’d definitely recommend volleyball to other people. Absolutely. It’s a team sport but when you get a hit it’s the best feeling in the world.”