As the 2016 club season winds down, some teams have already ended their seasons at local/regional events, while others are in final preparations to “peak” for the national championships, whether in Orlando or Indianapolis. For me, a self-proclaimed volleyball-nerd/junkie, it is an awesome time of the year.
The 2016 season has been a break-thru year for JVA events. Whether it be JVA-hosted events or JVA-member-hosted events, together we are truly changing the landscape of junior volleyball. After years of only running one JVA-hosted event, the JVA World Challenge, we created two new JVA-hosted events in Ohio: The JVA Rock ‘n Rumble in Cleveland and JVA SummerFest in Columbus.
Our inaugural JVA Rock ‘n Rumble event was a great success while hosting 253 teams on 36 courts under one roof at the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. PrepVolleyball.com ran an “Unsigned Showcase” for athletes the Friday before the event, bringing in multiple college coaches and great exposure for our attendees. For 2017, we look to expand into the attached Public Auditorium where we can add another 4 courts, getting our maximum capacity up to 320 teams on 40 courts.
After a stellar season-kick-off event, we focused our efforts on our largest event of the year, the JVA World Challenge. Over the past several years, this is our only JVA event that moves city to city. On the odd-numbered years, we are always in Louisville, Kentucky. On the even-numbered years, we take the World Challenge to cities outside of the “heart of JVA” in an attempt to grow our membership, grow our organization, and grow our brand, all while showing new regions of the country what the JVA is all about.
In 2012 and 2014, we brought the JVA World Challenge to the “Lone Star State”, spending two years in Houston. For this year’s event, the 2016 JVA World Challenge took place in late April in Kansas City, Missouri. We sold-out with 550 teams on 72 courts using the Kansas City Convention Center, Municipal Arena, and Ex-Hall. For 2017, JVA World Challenge returns back to Louisville, Kentucky where we anticipate hosting over 800 teams on 112 courts April 7-9.
We closed out our slate of 2016 JVA-hosted events by returning to the “Buckeye State” earlier this month. Our inaugural JVA SummerFest took place in downtown Columbus, Ohio at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. We marketed this event as a great season-ending event for those teams not continuing on later this month, as well as a great pre-national event for those teams continuing onto Orlando or Indianapolis. In our first year, we hosted 230 teams on 34 courts. Our growth within our events is exciting all-around, but this event I am personally very excited about as the Greater Columbus Convention Center is in the process of renovating and expanding. By 2018, we will be able to host over 450 teams on nearly 60 courts, creating one of the largest, most competitive season-ending/pre-national events in the country.
Beyond JVA-hosted events, we sponsored some great JVA-member-hosted events in our “2016 JVA Challenge Series presented by TeamSnap“. After firming up a partnership with PrepVolleyball.com this past September, these events, as well as multiple other JVA events, were provided with great coverage and follow-up stories.
Here is a rundown of this past seasons “2016 JVA Challenge Series presented by TeamSnap”:
All JVA events, outside of the World Challenge, are revenue shares with JVA member clubs. Our event revenue helps fund the JVA Sponsorship Program, recognition programs and our resources that we give to member clubs. While events are not our sole focus, they do draw the most attention and have been very helpful in building our membership across the country.
With over 250 JVA-hosted, insured, or sponsored events in 2016, it is clearly an exciting time to be one of the 830 JVA-member clubs that have come together to create the “voice of junior volleyball”. The biggest thing we do, and will continue to do, is listen to that voice, the customer; because without you, our members, our events are just another tournament.
As we near the end of the 2016 chapter in the story of JVA, we are so excited to turn the page for what we have in store for next season. In 2017 we will be celebrating our 10-Year Anniversary! That’s right, a decade of your continued support believing in our cause as an organization, wanting to be a part of “something bigger”, and supporting us so we can support you.
And to think…we’re just getting started.
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About the Author
Zach Colston has served as Director of Events for JVA since November 2014. He came onboard after gaining varied experiences with multiple junior volleyball clubs and collegiate programs. Colston has served as Director of Operations at both Mintonette Sports in Columbus, Ohio and K2 Volleyball in Knoxville, Tennessee where he played a key role in overseeing tournament organization and management for both clubs. Colston spent six seasons in the collegiate game while on the sidelines with The Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Maryville College (TN).