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IonVolleyball Days Open Doors

Fabien Melanson looked around the local sport landscape and saw an opportunity.

Some other sports were already providing safe and supportive spaces for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and Melanson was keen to help Volleyball Nova Scotia do the same.

The first 2SLGBTQ+ Beach Volleyball Day was held in July during Halifax Pride at the Pemamkiaq Beach Volleyball Courts in Dartmouth.

“There hasn’t been a space like this, and it was kind of a shock because there’s like one for every other sport, why isn’t there one for this one,” says Melanson, 44. “There are gay people who play every single sport. I see them on the court when I go play volleyball. I say hi to them but there’s no Queer space, but a lot of people who play other sports also play volleyball.”

Social media, website pages, and word of mouth were used to promote the event. Melanson acknowledges it was a modest start with enough people to create six teams.

The weather co-operated, and participants enjoyed a few friendly and fun games.

“It was a good start and a good afternoon,” Melanson says.

The event has already led to the inception of a Facebook group for connecting and organizing events, and the number of members has grown to more than 75.

The next Queer volleyball event is planned for the Canada Games

Centre in Halifax on Sept. 24.

The beach volleyball courts in Dartmouth were also the site of African Nova Scotian Beach Volleyball Day, held Aug. 19. The goal was to celebrate the African Nova Scotian community and provide an opportunity to enjoy volleyball.

About 10 people, mostly teens, turned out.

Justin Brooks, 30, volunteered to help lead the event. He started playing when he was about 12 because his dad coached volleyball. Brooks continued to play through school and even into university.

“I just think in Halifax in particular there are a lot of Black people, a lot of Black communities, and not many of them play volleyball,” says Brooks, who is African Nova Scotian with family roots in East Preston. “I really think it’s a lack of exposure. They just don’t really know that it’s a sport to play. A lot of people will play basketball. Volleyball, for me, kind of guided my life. It’s a huge part of my life now from when I was 12 years old. I met a lot of my friends through it. I just think it’s a great sport I’d like to expose to my community.

“The more events that you have where that opportunity is there, the more people who are going to come out.”

“It’s a great sport I’d like to expose to my community.” — Justin Brooks, volunteer with African Nova Scotian Beach Volleyball Day





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