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Sports News: Thompson Rivers University Brings WolfPack Volleyball Camp To Pitt Meadows
Submitted. The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team has always made it a priority to do summer camps. It’s one of the pet projects of head coach Pat Hennelly.
Now into his seventh season at the helm of the WolfPack, Hennelly has again assembled a series of eight camps which will take place throughout BC in the last three weeks of August. For the first time ever, Hennelly and the WolfPack will be conducting camps in the Lower Mainland. The ‘Pack will be in Delta August 13-16 and Pitt Meadows August 20-24 th.
“One of the reasons is to get more exposure for TRU and our program,” Hennelly says. “Ken Olynyk (Thompson Rivers Athletic and Recreation Director) talks about owning the corridor when it comes to recruiting. I think it’s great to get out and see these kids in their own community, play in their own gyms and help develop volleyball. It can be used as a recruiting tool but more importantly it can be used as a developmental tool for local coaches and players to increase participation in volleyball. It is also a good way for our guys to earn some money during the summer time and as a fundraiser for our program.”
Hennelly says for his players, acting as instructors at the camps gives them some great life skills. “To get them out being role models is always key in their development as people.”
The longest running camp is in Prince George, which is now into its sixth season of operation. Hennelly says the love of the sport and the talent level of the athletes in that community growing by leaps and bounds since they went in there. “ Dan Drezet is the local guy in Prince George and he has done a wonderful job with their club program. They have 300 members. It is one of the biggest clubs not only in BC but in Canada. I have seen more of an interest in the guys side of volleyball since we started. We had 165 players last summer. We started with 50.”
This year, there will be two camps in Prince George. The College of New Caledonia will be used for players in grades 6-8, while the University of Northern BC gym will house sessions for grades 9-10 and grades 11 to 12.
Prince George has also been beneficial as a place to recruit for the WolfPack: current TRU players Colin Carson, Spencer Reed and Nick Balazs are from that area and will be part of the instructing crew for those camps.
The camps in Fernie (now moved to Jaffrey due to the gym at the Fernie secondary school getting a new roof) and Revelstoke have been around for five years. Quesnel’s camp enters its fourth year of operation. That camp will be headed once again by Corrileau Secondary grad, former CIS and professional player and current WolfPack assistant coach Chad Grimm.
The newest camps for the WolfPack will be in Delta and Pitt Meadows. Hennelly explains how both came about.
“I am excited about Pitt Meadows. It is not a hot bed for guys volleyball. Hopefully we can make some inroads in there as well,” Hennelly said. “Delta came about because my wife’s parents live there and I can take my whole family there for a week to visit. Brian Newman is a former president of Volleyball Canada and former coach at Douglas College and is Domestic Development committee head for Volleyball Canada. He is very connected in the sport and he is trying to get his son interested in the sport. Every good athlete is pulled in different directions with all kinds of sport. He has shown an interest in bringing this into his community. He has a camp going on right now which just serves elementary students. We are letting him use the camp as a partial fundraiser. Hopefully we can generate enough interest in the camp to get more people out.”
As for Pitt Meadows? “ This came about from Sue Soolsma. I played with her through the 80’s with Team BC. We met up again when our club teams went to Western Canadians in 1984. Her children are going through the system. She has taken them to camps throughout the lower mainland but now she wants to have a camp in her city. She will be hosting the camp and we will be coming into run it.”
Hennelly will personally head up both the Delta and Pitt Meadows camps. Carla Bradstock, a former UBC and National team player will help with some of the girls programs at both camps.
Why should you put your child in a volleyball camp? Says Hennelly: “ It is a great way to get some technical expertise and at the same time have some fun. I remember when I was a young player, a volleyball camp is a very condensed and high intense four days. We go for three hour sessions. That is something you typically don’t get in a regular practice or league setting. We will pound out three weeks of practice into a four day session. It is like anything, when you learn properly you just build on from those basic skills. We want to teach kids how to set, pass, and spike at a young age. We will give them the skills and drills to have them go off by themselves and practice. I think its a fun way to meet varsity athletes.”
Unlike some volleyball camps, the WolfPack camps will have an instructor to ratio of two instructors for every 15 players.