Historic Year Underway for Cayman Volleyball
GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands - The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation (CIVF) is embarking on its most ambitious year ever. Now one of eight sports recognized by the Cayman Islands Government as a “Focus Sport”, volleyball is headed for big changes at all levels, say leaders. “This is an extremely exciting year,” said CIVF President Kennedy McGowan. “We are building our sport from the grassroots and attracting young Caymanians while also positioning ourselves to produce elite junior and senior class players for international competitions. We also plan to use volleyball to contribute to Cayman society beyond sport.”
In 2021 Cayman will have its first-ever fulltime technical director who will help drive the sport’s development at all levels. Among his objectives will be increasing youth participation in both indoor and beach volleyball and developing the Junior Elite Programme which will serve as a pipeline for national teams.
In another first, the CIVF has committed to including Cayman Brac in all volleyball programmes. The CIVF board increased from seven members to nine members this year and one board member now has the specific responsibility for representing the Sister Islands. “As a Bracker and as someone who loves volleyball, I am very enthusiastic about the Brac getting equal attention,” said Harold Sanford, the board member responsible for Cayman Brac. “Volleyball is already a hit on Cayman Brac and we see much more potential for it here.”
In 2021 CIVF will introduce a new education-and-sport programme designed to familiarize young Caymanians with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects in school and encourage them to consider STEM careers. “We need to find new and creative ways to expose young Caymanians to science and technology early in their lives, get them excited about it, and make them aware of the amazing opportunities both here at home and overseas,” explained Troy Alleyne, CIVF Vice President. “Volleyball is a fun, safe, and welcoming sport. We think this makes it very effective as a vehicle to attract and work with our youth in order to motivate them in positive directions,”
Pending government approval, the Federation hopes to launch Cayman’s first-ever interscholastic volleyball leagues in 2021. This would include indoor and beach leagues, with both private and government schools participating.
CIVF also plans to launch a new Community Beach League with the goal of bringing new players into the sport. The format will be focused on fun with easier four-person teams rather than the more challenging two-person teams. Teams will be required to be mixed gender and every team must have at least one under-18 player. There will be three divisions: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. “This league will be family oriented with a strong emphasis on good wholesome fun,” said Sheree Harrison, a CIVF board member. “It will be welcoming to everyone, regardless of age, experience, or skill level. Beach volleyball is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable sports so we’re confident that once people get a taste of it they’ll be hooked.”
To help the public stay informed during this busy year, CIVF is enhancing and expanding its website (www.civf.ky). “The new and improved CIVF website should be active in a few weeks,” said McGowan. “We think it will help us attract more local interest and allow players to easily register for the various leagues and clinics.”