Island Vibes Summer Camp has completed its first week of international volleyball training at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) for athletes 10-17 years old. Dr. Gylton Da Matta, master coach, is in the U.S.V.I. for the first time to share his expertise with athletes interested in improving their skills. Da Matta currently lives in Colorado where he founded the Youth Sports Academy (YOSA), a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting quality sports programs for children, youth and adults as well as their overall health and wellness. The goal is to be physically active for a life-time while promoting excellence, respect and friendship.
“I met Gylton in Greece during the International Session for Young Participants in 2012 hosted by the International Olympic Committee; I was representing the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Vernon Araujo, camp director at Island Vibes Summer Camp. “We automatically clicked and my idea for this summer camp was met by his enthusiasm to visit the U.S.V.I.”
Island Vibes Summer Camp is a non-profit organization and the first overnight sports and adventure summer program for local and visiting young campers. The aim is to help nurture athletic ability, allow campers to experience V.I. culture and meet new people.
This two-week camp runs from June 25 to July 8. Chantel Hoheb, IVSC assistant camp director, said that “We have been fortunate enough to have four young athletes from St. Croix join our camp this year. It is very important to us to include young people from each island as we attempt to uplift sports in the territory. We also had the pleasure of having two young ladies here on vacation from Texas train with us while their parents enjoyed the beauty of the USVI. One of our goals with this program is to host athletes from all over the world that want to receive expert training in Paradise, so having those ladies here made our goals seem even more possible.”
Da Matta may not be well known in the territory; however, he is one of the most sought-after trainers and technical evaluators in the world. He has worked with players such as Anderson Rodrigues and Gilson and has coached the U23 Brazilian Men’s National Volleyball Team to a world championship in 2013.
“I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best volleyball players in the world; however, my biggest accomplishment was coaching Ricardo Picinin, who went on to coach the Brazilian National Team,” said Da Matta.
“We have learned so much in our first year and we look forward to learning more about the best ways to help prepare our youth for the world of professional sports. One of the issues that is becoming clearer is the need for coaching that helps extend and enhance the lives of our local athletes on and off the court. Many players have complained about the lack of personal attention paid to learning basic skills and some coaching styles have discouraged players from joining their school teams or playing altogether,” said Hoheb.
“Island Vibes Summer Camp wants to not only improve the skills of our athletes through common sense instruction but to also uplift our local coaching staff from the elementary level on up so they can be better coaches for our young athletes, which after all should be the main reason for becoming a coach in the first place.”
Araujo gratefully said, “We couldn’t have held this camp if it weren’t for companies and philanthropists such as Alpine Securities, The Rapier Family Foundation, Fostar Managed Services, Paradise Chiropractic and Seven Seas Water.”
VIEBES also thanks all its volunteers and angels for stepping in right when the need was the greatest. To help support the organization or enroll a child in the volleyball program, e-mail [email protected] or call 626-3729.