Volleyball Canada officially announced a Long-Term Referee Development Plan that will have a significant impact on the quality of the sport for years to come. Denise Amyot, a member of the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Board of Directors, met with the organization to hear how a three-year, $491,500 Grow grant, made in 2016, is helping the organization develop and improve officiating at the grassroots level across the province.
“Volleyball Canada along with Ontario Volleyball are well deserving of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. The new referee training and recruiting that will occur over the length of this grant will have a lasting benefit not only to players within the sport but to communities throughout Ontario. Referees start out as youth referees in high school and this grant will allow that base to continue to grow into the elite levels of the sport,” said John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South.
The project is already in progress; beginning with a survey of more than 900 referees across Canada, the piloting of a referee mentor model and a train-the-referee mentor program. In the long run, the overall goal is to provide opportunities for referees to stay engaged via an online referee academy as well as other educational and development tools.
“The Long-Term Referee Development Plan will enhance the quality of continuous referee education – inclusive of beach volleyball, indoor volleyball and Para volleyball – with a goal to improve the satisfaction of all participants,” said Guy Bradbury, of Volleyball Canada’s National Referee Committee. “While the focus of the project is in Ontario, it is without a doubt that the outcome will impact referees’ engagement all across Canada in years to come. If the experience of all participants is at a high level we can expect to see an increase in retention rates of players, coaches and referees in future years,” added Bradbury.
“Without the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, this major project would have not been possible,” said Mark Eckert, President and CEO of Volleyball Canada. “We’re very excited to be able to improve the overall quality of our sport for many years to come by developing referees at the grassroots level, which is so important to our players’ and coaches’ enjoyment of volleyball.”