2023 Annual Affiliate Award Winners

Published Mon 27 May 2024

Volleyball Victoria presented the winners of the 2023 Annual Affiliate Awards during the President's Lunch, held in the Champions Room at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC), Albert Park, on Sunday 19 May, 2024, after the 2023 Annual General Meeting.

Nominations were accepted from the public and assessed by the Volleyball Victoria Awards and Recognition Committee, with the following winners recommended for each category and endorsed by the Board of Volleyball Victoria:

  • Most Outstanding Junior Program: Greater Melbourne Volleyball Academy for their SpikeZone program.
  • Excellence in Coaching: Brooke Symes from Mildura Volleyball Academy.
  • Volunteer Achievement Award: Kid Camaya from Volley Friends United Melbourne.
  • Service to Volleyball: Geoff Adcock from Bendigo Volleyball Association.
  • Most Outstanding Teacher: Gary Mullens from Crusoe Secondary College.
  • Most Outstanding School: Wyndham Central College.
  • Most Outstanding Association: Maroondah Volleyball.

Luke Campbell for GMVA

Brooke Symes for Mildura Volleyball Academy

Kid Camaya from VFUM

Vanessa Showell from Bendigo Volleyball Association

Catherine Gordon from Maroondah Volleyball

Most Outstanding Junior Program Award

In 2023 Greater Melbourne Volleyball Academy experienced growth in their SpikeZone indoor programs offered across two locations in Dandenong and Oakleigh, recording 379 athletes in total – 131 in Oakleigh and 248 in Dandenong, hitting capacity at both venues. They also offered a SpikeZone beach program delivered by former Olympian Tasmin Hinchley.

GMVA is also committed to developing and engaging quality coaches for their junior programs. This included 32 assistant coaches in 2023 that were Academy, State Team, or Australian Volleyball Super League athletes, providing pathways for coaches while delivering high quality coaching to SpikeZone and junior program participants.

They also sent teams to the first ever SpikeZone Mini-League Tournament, allowing their SpikeZone athletes to get another level of experience and play, but also allowing for 3 assistant coaches to step up and be head coaches for those sessions.

GMVA’s SpikeZone Play sessions at Oakleigh (matchplay after training) increased retention of athletes to over 80% in 2023, a significant step up from previous years, adding more opportunities to engage and develop for junior volleyballers.

For these reasons, GMVA is awarded the 2023 Most Outstanding Junior Program Award.


Excellence in Coaching Award

As the Head Coach of the Mildura Volleyball Academy, Brooke Symes made an outstanding contribution to the greater Sunraysia region volleyball community in 2023 through providing support, development, and growth of athletes to learn, improve, and achieve.

Brooke led junior girls and junior boys teams from the Mildura Volleyball Academy to the 2023 Country Championships, with her athletes earning selection to the All-Star 7 teams at the conclusion of the tournament.

But it is in recognition of her dedication and commitment to all the additional aspects that make a great coach for a regional community, so far away from so many volleyball opportunities, that she is selected for this award. Her efforts go a long way to removing barriers to participation and high achievement, as well as making the sport accessible, for a regional community.

Brooke demonstrates an unwavering commitment to ensuring that her athletes can compete and achieve at the highest possible levels and access resources and opportunities not just by being a qualified and knowledgeable coach, but by going above and beyond. In 2023 she accompanied her athletes and squads to tryouts and events, taking the sometimes 5-hour plus trip in order to support them in locations such as Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, and Warrnambool.

For her dedication in improving herself as a coach as well as her dedication to supporting her athletes at every part of their journey, Brooke Symes is awarded the 2023 Excellence in Coaching Award.


Volunteer Achievement Award

As President of Volley Friends United Melbourne in 2023, Kid Camaya exemplified everything that makes a great volunteer and community sport administrator, as well as a great ambassador for the sport of volleyball and as an affiliate of Volleyball Victoria.

Kid created and delivered outstanding communications and marketing material for VFUM, elevating the status, prestige, and reach of the club, but was also not afraid to help support and promote other clubs, associations, and competitions all in support of the greater good for volleyball in Victoria. He is also involved every day in the operation of the club, including organising teams, events and tournaments, programs, and other activities, while also volunteering his time as a Level 2 referee and a Level 3 coach, filling in where and whenever needed.

In 2023 Kid started delegating more club operational tasks to his growing committee of club volunteers, allowing them to step up and develop as volunteers as well, increasing the strength and success of the club.

Kid volunteers and dedicates much of his spare time to Volley Friends operationally and on-the-court, but it is his commitment as a volunteer in his community off-the-court for which he earns this recognition.

He has created a home, a family, and a refuge to others at VFUM. He opens the doors to his own home to store club equipment, host committee meetings and gatherings, or just for many club members to come and hang out. Kid has created a place where people want to be through his volunteering, and it is for this reason Kid Camaya is awarded the 2023 Volunteer Achievement Award.


Service to Volleyball Award

Geoff Adcock is a volunteer with a history of some three decades with the Bendigo Volleyball Association, beginning as a coach of junior school teams as a teacher all the way to being a Board Member and President of the Association. His reputation locally and around Victoria is of someone who will dive in and help or assist anyone whenever needed, and will act in a professional yet passionate manner to drive outcomes for the betterment of his community and of volleyball as a whole.

Geoff was key in creating, developing, and delivering Bendigo’s annual Junior Dragon City Volleyball Tournament for 20 years. The tournament is now highly regarded as an excellent junior lead-up tournament to the Australian Youth Volleyball Championships.

He has been involved in developing and supporting hundreds of junior players over the years, but more recently has been instrumental in engaging the young women and men of the refugee Karen community that is growing in Bendigo. 

Geoff actively encourages and coaches his junior teams to participate in metropolitan based tournaments for a greater level of competition and experience. As a result, he maintains extremely strong relationships with many other likeminded volunteers from other associations across Victoria.

For these reasons, Geoff Adcock is awarded the 2023 Service to Volleyball Award.


Most Outstanding Teacher Award

Gary Mullens has been the driving force behind the junior development of volleyball at Crusoe Secondary College in Kangaroo Flat, where Gary is employed as a teacher, for over fifteen years.

His attitude, commitment, and passion, for the sport of volleyball and the participation and engagement of students in the sport, has seen a number of students compete and achieve across all levels of volleyball. From the Bendigo Volleyball Association’s weekly domestic competition and the Bendigo Academy of Sport to the Volleyball Victoria Schools Cup and the Victorian Volleyball League – including the Premier League with the Phantoms Volleyball Club. Gary’s students have even been selected in Victorian State Teams and his past students have continued their volleyball journey to an international College level with his support.

Under his guidance, Crusoe Secondary College have teams competing in the local Bendigo Volleyball Association competition, as well as teams that travel to compete in the Volleyball Victoria Schools Cup and VVJO.

As a teacher, Gary is committed to developing and making great people. He emphasises fair play, team spirit, and never has a bad word to say about anyone. The positive attitude he has is evident through his players as their love for the sport is next to none. He is an excellent role model for his students and others within the volleyball community.

For these reasons, Gary Mullens is awarded the 2023 Most Outstanding Teacher Award.


Most Outstanding School Award

Wyndham Central College was an engaged partner of Volleyball Victoria who supported the growth of the sport through their actions and investments in 2023, as well as achieved a high standard of success on the court.

The implementation and popularity of their recent volleyball programs, including an after-school program, led the school to invest in and provide funding for the development of an outdoor volleyball court area. This court now gets used during school hours at break time by students, so much so that plans are in place to expand the area.

Wyndham fields volleyball teams in the School Sports Victoria competition, competing against other schools in the area, and their senior girls volleyball team has qualified for the Region Finals in 2024.

The school was also an enthusiastic partner of Volleyball Victoria for the Volleyball Victoria Junior Open tournament at Eagle Stadium in Werribee. Wyndham endorsed the participation of their students in helping deliver the VVJO at Eagle Stadium, providing event staff and volunteers as a leadership and learning experience in volleyball.

For these reasons, and their initiative and investment, Wyndham Central College is awarded the 2023 Most Outstanding School Award.


Most Outstanding Association Award

In 2023 Maroondah Volleyball demonstrated their continued commitment to excellence and leadership when implementing and promoting programs and policies to support inclusion, cultural diversity, community engagement, and member support.

The Association continues to support and promote women and girls taking administrative, coaching, and leadership roles within the organisation, adopted and implemented policies to support members experiencing domestic violence through White Ribbon, and liaised with Australian ParaVolley to demonstrate sitting volleyball at the Maroondah Nets. They now hold regular sitting volleyball activities on Sundays.

They were the successful recipient of a $7500 grant from the LOTE Agency to support culturally diverse communities and make volleyball equally accessible and inclusive. They lead the state in community fundraising initiatives and events, including raising over $14,000 at their Good Friday Appeal Tournament, helping raise over $20,000 with Volleyball Victoria for the Breast Cancer Network Australia during Pink Round, and hosting the ANZAC round and main service.

Maroondah also participated in community activation and engagement programs and events, such as the Eastlands Maroondah Festival and the Mooroolbark Festival, on top of running programs and competitions for all ages and abilities that experienced growth in 2023, from their Little Spikets and Spikers programs for kids under the age of five, SpikeZone programs, the “Volleyall” program for all abilities, Maroondah Eastern Institute of Volleyball, Sporting Schools, Maroondah Volleyball league, and the Maroondah Cobras teams in the Victorian Volleyball League.

For these reasons, Maroondah Volleyball is awarded the 2023 Most Outstanding Association Award.