The UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team invited two grad six classes from Bankhead elementary for a volleyball instructional, sports inspirational meet and great on Monday November 28.
Grade six teacher from Bankhead Elementary and long time Heat volleyball fan, Jim Batchelor and women’s volleyball head coach Steve Manuel combined forces to create the event.
Steve Manuel was more than happy to share his practice time and says that “it was just a way for us to help inspire these young students who want to participate in athletic events, play on their school team and consider athletics as a lifelong activity.”
The students from Bankhead travelled to UBC’s Okanagan campus and just observed the practice for the first part of the morning. The Heat then broke from their normal practice routine and did a quick meet and greet with the Bankhead students during which coach Manuel assigned one of his players to every three to five of their students. Once broken into smaller groups the women’s volleyball team did a little mini-clinic with the students. At the end of the session the grade six’s went away with roster cards, pocket schedules and Heat stickers.
Coach Manuel thinks this is a great opportunity to empower youth in the community and points out how important University athletics can be to these youth especially females;
Manuel makes the point that “it is probably the highest level of sport in the community that the girls can aspire too. The guys have the Sun and the Rockets; or they can go watch the Falcons. We are quite possibly the highest profile female program in the Okanagan.”
To demonstrate the elite level of athletics that is being played here and highlight how amazing these athletes are Manuel tailored the day with Bankhead.
“The level and intensity of our practice was enough to keep these grade six students entertained,” says Manuel. “I think they were surprised at the level of athleticism of our student athletes. On more than one occasion I overheard some of the Bankhead students comment on a huge block or at a kill, even the boys were engaged and impressed. Young students need role models; I think that a bunch of these students went away thinking that someday they would like to be university volleyball players.”
Another area where we had the Heat had fun with the group from Bankhead was in demonstrating the workout program and stretching exercises that the Heat players do. “We even took the time to show some exercises that they can take away with them, it was good to show them stuff that they can do,” adds Manuel.
With exams taking over the gym on UBC’s Okanagan campus the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team will look to do another outreach activity at Anne McClymont Elementary before the Christmas Break.