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Brant Youth Volleyball Club founders celebrate 25 years of excellence  

Community ProfileBrant Youth Volleyball Club founders celebrate 25 years of excellence  

Since founding the Brant Youth Volleyball Club (BYVC) in 1998, Rick and Sandy Beedham have been dedicated to creating progressive volleyball programs, leading competitive teams, developing youth talent, and building relationships throughout the Brant County community.

However, the couple’s interest in playing and eventually developing a dynamic volleyball club initially started with Sandy Beedham’s coaching work during her time as both elementary and high school teacher.

“Being a teacher I [had a chance to be a] coach for many sports teams including cross country, baseball, and volleyball. I’ve coached at high school for many years [and] was at North Park and the Paris District…coaching their teams. I also had success with the elementary school volleyball team which led us to [creating our] club,” said Sandy Beedham.

The Brant Youth Volleyball Club recently celebrated the end of their 25th indoor season with the annual BYVC Awards Banquet at the Polish Community Centre in Brantford, Ontario. Over 200 athletes, family, and guests were in attendance. Pictured here are all the winners of various awards that night. Photo courtesy Brant Youth Volleyball Club.

This then morphed into an interest in developing multiple teams within the community.

“We started with just one boys’ team. And then the next team, most of those boys wanted to play again, but they were in grade nine. At that point, it was a two-year age group. So, we realized that putting a team of grade nines into a grade nine/ten group wouldn’t go over as well as it could. We recruited a few great tens and decided we needed a team of grade eights so that we could be this team next year,” Rick continued. “We coached these two boys’ teams, and [then decided we] should do grade seven/eight girls’ teams as well. We did that for the first year. We had three teams.”

However, from there, the Beedhams decided to expand BYVC’s offerings through developmental programs.

“Halfway through, we decided that we should start doing developmental [programs] because we wanted the kids in our area to love volleyball and wanted to see an improvement in volleyball at the elementary [and] secondary levels. We started to do developmental programs as well with our house leagues [and] today we have 14 competitive teams,” Rick said. “We run a beach league, which is both competitive and a house league [and] we run house league programs for kids starting from grade one. We have a parent-child program that we run on the beach and indoors. And then we have the junior and senior spikes programs …We’re running many programs to bring volleyball to the Brant County area.”

The Brant Youth Volleyball Club has participated in many international events during the past 25 years including the International Children’s Games. Pictured is the 2009 team in front of the Athens International Children’s Games headquarters. The BYVC first participated in Hamilton Ontario in 2000 and has been part of events across 10 different cities around the world between the years 2000 and 2017. Photo courtesy Brant Youth Volleyball Club.

As the BYVC continued to grow within the community, Rick and Sandy Beedham have been instrumental in getting the club to participate in various events around the world.

Sandy, who was recently inducted into the Ontario Volleyball Association’s Hall of Fame in the builder’s category, discussed some trip highlights.  

“We’ve been to lots of places including Thailand (Bangkok), Taiwan (Taipei), Amsterdam, Scotland, and the United States (San Francisco) for the International Children’s Games,” she explained. “In Cleveland, Ohio, the President of the United States did the openings for our ceremonies [and] in Thailand, the Princess of Thailand, came in on an elephant to open the ceremonies [and] in Greece [the] opening ceremonies were at the Olympic Stadium. We’ve done lots of really cool and interesting things.”

Rick and Sandy Beedham, founders of the Brant Youth Volleyball Club, are pictured here at the Brantford Sports Council’s 17th annual celebration at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford, Ontario. Both Rick and Sandy Beedham were recognized by winning the George Jones Memorial Award – Lifetime Sports Volunteerism for their dedication, passion, hard work, and commitment to their sports community for over 25 years. Photo courtesy Brantford Sports Council.

Nevertheless, the success has been evident with the growing popularity of various programs that the BYVC has offered as well as many alumni being part of coaching the next generation of volleyball stars.   

“We’re preaching to kids to play volleyball [and] love the sport no matter whether it’s competitive or recreational. And they can do this sport as a young kid; in high school or elementary, but also as an adult. And then one thing we’re really lucky is [we] have kids that we’ve coached, come back and they’re coaching for us now, and throughout the years,” said Sandy.

In fact, the BYVC has had a long and successful track record in developing talent that has passed on their knowledge as coaches including Holly Motheral, who is the women’s volleyball head coach at Messiah College, and Nick Rawls, who is the men’s volleyball head coach at the University of Rio Grande College; both educational institutions are located in the United States.

This is a picture of the first Brant Youth Volleyball Club boys team to participate in the OVA. It was a combination of Paris District HS and St George German Elementary School players. The team was put together after the team had finished playing for the BCESSA Championship. Photo courtesy Brant Youth Volleyball Club.

However, the BYVC has been looking forward to accommodating future tournaments and programs in new facilities within the next few years—reflecting the growing popularity of volleyball in the Brant County community.

“We just hosted a tournament, but it’s actually in Simcoe because there aren’t any schools here in Brantford that can accommodate them. That’s going to be fixed in two or three years from now when the new facility over in West Branch is up and running,” Sandy continued. “Our big need in this area is finding schools that can host tournaments because right now we travel all over Ontario…that’s a big thing for us… finding facilities that can host so we can host more locally.” 

The Brant Youth Volleyball Club’s 15U Brant Tornadoes-Synergy team captured silver at the Provincial Cup Tournament in Chatham in 2023. The Brant Youth Volleyball Club has had a successful year where its teams have earned multiple top-3 finishes. Photo courtesy Brant Youth Volleyball Club.

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