Setting an example: Brownstown volleyball team gives back to community through fairgrounds project


Before venturing out into the sweltering summer heat, their morning began in the weight room.

Wasting no time — with a full schedule slated — the Brownstown Central High School volleyball program lifted from 6:45 to 8:30 a.m. before their two-hour practice that started at 9.

The day didn’t end there. It was just the start.

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From their practice, they ventured to the Jackson County Fairgrounds for a brief lunch before the next phase of their day.

Wanting to give back to the community, the Braves helped paint all of the benches and clean up the fairgrounds the entire afternoon.

Thirty-one girls from the Braves’ program, along with coaches and parents, helped with the project Wednesday.

“We talked to Mark Norman, a member of the fair board, and asked what we could do,” Braves varsity coach Jennifer Shade said. “He organized for us to paint all of the benches here at the fairgrounds. We have swept out buildings and other types of work here this afternoon.

“We have donated to American Red Cross, washed semis (trucks) and done different types of community service projects in the past. I think the girls will be proud to come out here during the fair to say they helped make it better.”

With 51 sponsors on board thus far going into the 2017 season, the team thought they needed to show their appreciation in some way.

“They help make everything run well in our program,” Shade said. “Whether it’s needing equipment or meals for when we’re on the road — they do a lot for us. We have a lot of community support for all sports here in Brownstown. We think that it’s important for the girls to realize that those aren’t just handouts. We need to appreciate what people in the community do to support us.”

This year, the Braves plan to have 16 freshmen on their roster.

Senior Claire Pace said that it’s important for the underclassmen to understand that they need to give back.

“We’re giving back to the community because they have given us so much,” Pace said. “We need to show thanks, and this is a way to do that. The incoming classes will follow the same things that we are doing.”

Both Pace and fellow senior Mallory Nierman said they spend a lot of time at the fair, and look forward to seeing their work with the facilities filled.

“I come here every day during the fair,” Nierman said. “It will feel rewarding when walking around the grounds.”

Shade said that the service project also has helped bring the team together.

“The girls are working together and accomplishing something,” Shade said. “It’s all a part of the team bonding experience. We appreciate so much that the community and fans are doing. We have so many good things going at Brownstown right now and we hope that this just adds to it.

“Hopefully they’re learning about community service and about service learning projects.”

In the future, the Braves plan on continuing to get more involved in their community.

“We will come up with something — maybe just not on an 95-degree day,” Shade joked.

The Jackson County Fair starts July 23 and runs through the 29.

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