Volleyball team digs in to help charities

Their season spiked by the pandemic, the 12 girls who make up the Prince George Kodiaks Black under-14 club volleyball are not letting money they raised through bottle drives and calendar sales  to fund tournament travel go to waste.

They’re donating it to charity.

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The Kodiaks picked the Prince George Humane Society and Camp Good Times, a camp for kids with cancer, as their charitable choices. Each will receive a $500 donation.

“Our team really wanted to donate it to something that would help animals and to kids that can’t play sports,” said Kodiaks 14-year-old middle blocker Brooke Cameron. “It makes me feel pretty good that it’s going to a pretty good use.”

The Kodiaks were planning a trip to Kelowna for their first out-of-town tournament in March when it got canceled, a day before they were due to leave. When it became obvious they would also be missing the provincial and national tournaments, both in Abbotsford, they decided to track down a worthy cause to benefit from their fundraising efforts.

“We thought it would be better to give the money out, because some kids aren’t going to make the team next year,” said Cameron,” who just took up volleyball a year ago and played last fall for the Grade 8 school team at Prince George Secondary School .

The Kodiaks had wanted to visit one of the city’s elementary schools to teach volleyball to young students but the COVID-19 crisis closed all schools and made that impossible. They’re keeping that idea on the backburner, maybe for next season.

“It would be really cool to teach kids how to play, it would be really fun,” said Cameron.

Kodiaks coach Craig Somerville says he’s not surprised his players are showing their willingness to help out kids in need and lend their support to dogs, cats and other critters who don’t have a voice. Part of the donation to the two groups was the club registration fees they did not get to utilize.

“It’s quite expensive for some of the girls and they did so much fundraising to make it easier for the families,” said Somerville, who split the team coaching duties with Michelle Werbecky. “It was such a good group of girls, the team spirit was amazing. It was a team that was really kind and just supported each other.

“With COVID, everybody was disappointed with the season ending and how do you close when you don’t have a wrap-up party or group gathering. We were doing a virtual close to the season that was cut way too short and they thought, let’s give back and feel good about something in the season.”

The Kodiaks haven’t been on the court together since early March but did get to play a bit of beach volleyball at one last team function a few weeks ago close to Cameron’s home in Blackburn, on the eastern edge of the city.

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