Connie McCann, President VRPA
Over the course of 2023 Connie McCann President of Victoria Regional Pickleball Association (VRPA) asked volunteers why women were not playing in tournaments ran by club. Many told her fears of not feeling ready enough to compete. McCann then looked at a way to better help women get ready for a tournament setting.
McCann took a look at the stats of the club’s membership and found that 61% were women, however the registrants for each tournament the VPRA hosted over 70% of these registrants were men.
It was then identified the need for a women’s only tournament specifically an entry level tournament that would help build the skills that women need to address the fears and intimidation of a ‘big’ tournament then led us to reaching outside the VRPA community. VRPA in 2022 and 2023 made a concerted effort to explore both financial and community support for the concept of a women’s only tourney. This led us to local company, Berwick Retirement Communities, who came to attention during the 55+BC Games in 2022. They were the premier sponsor for the Games. Also, in 2022, VRPA went into discussion with the University of Victoria Vikes Club (UVIC Vikes Club) about social pickleball at their superb Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) gym facility. UVIC Vikes Club and VRPA now work together on several successful pickleball programs including the Women’s Tournament.
Making local connections, supporting each other, and identifying where we can grow our sport in the best possible way is what this new tournament is all about. VRPA is excited about changing the numbers of women playing in tournaments.
On Saturday April 13th, 2024, the first Berwick RC/UVIC Inaugural Women’s Tournament, 2.0-3.25 skill level, hosted by VRPA, will be held at University of Victoria’s CARSA gym.