Charitable camp featuring USA Volleyball players coming to Moon in August

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | 5:13 PM


The top women’s college volleyball teams in the country are coming to Pittsburgh in December, and a few months before that, past and present members of the U.S. Olympic team will bring their charitable camp to the area as well.

The annual Give It Back camp for girls volleyball players, featuring instruction from USA Volleyball team members, will take place from Aug. 9-10 at Moon High School.

Cost for the camp, which is open to girls in eighth grade and up, is $300, with proceeds going to Christ The Center Ministries, which will build a high school in Gulu, Uganda. Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen, a Hopewell graduate and two-time U.S. women’s volleyball Olympian, spent time at a Christ The Center Ministries school in Uganda in 2018.

Western Pennsylvania is hosting the camp for the first time. Nine USA Volleyball team members will provide instruction.

“It brings volleyball excitement to Western Pennsylvania, and it’s a very worthy cause, obviously, too,” said Tim Toy, co-founder of the charitable volleyball organization We Serve First. “I’m really excited because they’re going to bring this quality of volleyball instruction to Western Pennsylvania.”

Toy created We Serve First in late 2015 with wife Ellen Toy, a former coach at Kiski Area, Leechburg and Plum who died in February 2016 after a long battle with stomach cancer. The Toys developed a close relationship with USA Volleyball during Ellen’s illness.

Last summer We Serve First provided the funding for players Makayla Jackson (Plum), McKenna Pierce (Leechburg) and Cassie Shoupe (Kiski Area), along with Plum coach Kelsey Bonk, to attend the Give It Back camp in Anaheim, Calif. Toy hopes to sponsor the attendance of players at the 2019 camp as well.

Toy hopes the camp creates a buzz for volleyball in Western Pennsylvania, especially with the NCAA Division I volleyball championship coming to Pittsburgh from Dec. 19-21.

“I’m hoping with the proper buildup, we can fill it and do a nice job of getting kids out to it,” Toy said. “It’s nice to have Christa coming back home and showing kids what’s possible, even from here. I guess in the volleyball world we wouldn’t be known as a destination, but when you have someone like Christa as a torch-bearer, you really have a heavy hitter and someone who can show kids in our area that anything is possible.”

Registration begins April 1 at www.giveitbackfoundation.org.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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