The JVA Mentor Program began in September 2020 amidst a global pandemic as club directors worldwide sought ways to save their businesses. With the help of many members, the JVA was busy sharing education and resources related to COVID-19 and pandemic-era business operations. To meet our community’s rapidly evolving needs, we launched the Mentor Program.
The goal of the JVA Mentor Program is to connect club directors seeking guidance in any area of running a club with other experienced directors who can listen, guide, and give advice. By connecting directors, the JVA’s mission is to provide sustainability and growth for junior volleyball clubs and more quality opportunities for junior athletes. One year in, the program has established 19 mentorships between a JVA Mentor and a Mentee, and both parties have shared in the benefits of the connections.
“In my opinion, virtually all club directors do the work they do in large part because they enjoy helping others,” explains JVA Mentor Scott Jackson of Minnesota Select. “The JVA mentorship program is a natural extension of what club directors are seeking to do already in their individual community. It is enjoyable to share knowledge with others working hard for kids in the sport we all love.”
Scott was paired with Heather Bernet with KODA Volleyball Club in upstate New York. She applied for the JVA Mentor program because she needed help as a first time Club Director with only a few years involvement in a junior club.
“The program helped me to feel connected; I didn’t feel alone or lost anymore. I had someone to help me along as I began my adventure. I became less afraid to try new things, and it gave me the confidence to know that I would make a good Club Director,” shares Heather.
Heather also valued that Scott shared his own frustrations and concerns running a club during a global pandemic. She felt as though he trusted her as much as she trusted him to share their battles.
“Just yesterday, I saw on a FaceBook group message that Heather was offering to talk with and assist another Club Director who had written a question to the group! I thought that was awesome!” adds Scott.
The JVA Mentor Program is an example of how the junior volleyball community can improve more quickly and more thoroughly through intentionality and collaboration.
“From the mentoring that Scott provided I have a newfound confidence that I didn’t have before” shares Heather. “I will take what I learned and move forward in confidence that I am capable of supporting the staff, the athletes, and the families of our club. I will move forward knowing that Scott Jackson from Minnesota Select will always be cheering us on.”
As an organization focused entirely on junior volleyball and the needs of the Club Directors first and foremost, the JVA is excited to already have 19 members receiving the support and guidance they need to be successful. By joining together to support each other we are only making the future of our sport stronger.
“The connection and support was not temporary to the timeframe of the program, I have felt the connection and support well past our regular calls. It is an ongoing connection and support, and I am so appreciative of that,” says Heather. “Even though we are very different, with our club being small and relatively in early development versus his club being large and simply amazing, high level athletes. It showed me how much the volleyball community wants to see each other grow and develop. There is so much love in this community.”
About the JVA
The Junior Volleyball Association is an organization comprised of nearly 1,300 junior volleyball clubs, and is focused entirely on improving the junior volleyball experience for clubs, coaches, players and the junior volleyball community. The JVA’s mission is to promote the growth and development of junior volleyball through program and resource development, education and events. Click HERE for more information about the JVA.