Laurie Peterka's success in running the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association will not be possible without the help of volunteers and sponsors.
“I may be able to provide vision and leadership in NMIVA, but these would be nothing without the dedication of those people who volunteer weekly to help carry out the vision or those community partners who help to fund our activities,” said Peterka, who was named NMASA Sports Administrator of the Year for her outstanding work with the volleyball association in 2012.
“I would dedicate the award to all of our amazing volunteers and sponsors,” I see the benefits of recognition and this award is an honor. That my peers and colleagues see the effort that I am putting forth to expand our sport is inspiring. Often times its the little things, gestures, and thanks that motivate us to keep going even when we feel like we have given all that we have. This award gives me hope that my efforts are bringing benefit beyond any recognition that I didn't plan to receive. Or maybe it would be better said to say, I don't do what I do for the recognition. I do what I do, because it's the right thing to do,” she said.
The awardee added that it was through the help of the volunteers, sponsors, and other NMIVA officials that they were able to survive the challenges of the past season.
“Our biggest challenge in 2012 (as in all previous years) is figuring out who will be able to fit volunteering for various programs into their schedules. We have so many ideas that we want to execute, but only a few who are able to dedicate the time and resources. We managed to expand and offer beach volleyball clinics because coach Russ Quinn stepped up to take the lead and he has been able to recruit other coaches to help. Coach Mili Saiki is a driving force of volleyball through the programs she leads at Saipan International School. Coaches Nick Gross, Tyce Mister, Heather Kennedy, Jennifer Douglas, Glen Smith, Kathy Winkfield, and Emi Quitugua are just few of the people who help drive the growth of our sport,” the NMIVA head said.
“The second biggest challenge is communication with the community and getting participation. There are tons of activities always going on and our youth are often faced with having to choose one or another. We hope that we've made the choice easier by making our clinics and training development programs free to anyone who will dedicate themselves to our sport. We've also dedicated a significant amount of time to making information available online via our website (www.nmivolleyball.org) and through Facebook. We are using email to communicate directly as frequently as possible,” Peterka said.
Others challenges are securing financial aid and getting involved more in interscholastic competitions.
“We had hoped to have secured development funding/in-kind assistance from FIVB/AVC to have a full time executive director in order relieve some of the pressure of the day to day tasks and to allow us to move more fluently into our growth. Up to now, we haven't quite figured out how to do this, but we are still trying. Then, we have been working towards improving our relationship with MISO and attempting to work more closely with PSS,” the NMIVA official said.
Peterka added that for MISO, NMIVA managed to provide provided free referee clinics and refresher courses for coaches and introduced a program for middle school mentors.
“We also began surveying for information about equipment needs and further coaching development programs for grades 6-12. We are extremely grateful to corporate partner Docomo Pacific for helping us with equipment for the beach in front of Fiesta. This investment pushed us toward the goals of creating the free beach clinic program,” Peterka said.
These challenges and how to approach them are part of the 20-year vision that Peterka is developing for NMIVA and with limited funding and human resources, she reiterated that volunteers' contribution is crucial in helping the association achieve its goals.
“Given that we are a non-profit organization and receive no development assistance from the CNMI government and do not presently have any long term corporate sponsor relationships, I am constantly challenged as to how to keep our volunteers motivated. Lacking an executive director (or secretary general), my approach has been to dedicate myself heart and soul to NMI Volleyball Association as a second job free of charge. I have worked closely with as many people who are willing to participate and asked that those people who want to see the sport grow, dedicate themselves as much as they can but within reason,” she said.
“I promise them NMIVA support as well as my personal support. Last year, I believe that more people were able to see the vision, see the hard work required to achieve the vision and we enjoyed further cooperation from community partners such as MISO to keep moving toward the vision,” Peterka said.