Posted on August 5, 2016
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee–It’s been a busy summer for the Tennessee volleyball program as much of the team spent the months in summer school and preparing for the upcoming season.
Senior Raina Hembry and junior Kelsey Bawcombe both had important journeys over the break, with Hembry going to Brazil with the VOLeader Academy and Bawcombe interviewing with major accounting firms for her internship.
Hembry was the volleyball team’s representative in the VOLeaders Academy, a new leadership and service-based training program that traveled to Rio de Janeiro a few weeks before the Olympic Games. She was one of 14 student-athletes in the group for the 10-day journey in Brazil.
The VOLeaders worked with sport non-profit organizations and children throughout the area. Hembry took her first boxing and jujitsu lessons from local kids who had one or two years of experience in the discipline themselves.
“Sports is a universal language,” Hembry said. “You don’t have to know the same language or like the same thing. As long as you like sport or like to exercise, you can do anything. I was running with kids half my size — and I was 12 or 13 years older than them — and having just as much fun as them. It’s something where you can go anywhere and bond with people around you.”
The VOLeaders Academy was a joint partnership between the UT Center for Leadership and Service: the Center for Sport, Peace and Society; and the Department of Athletics.
“VOLeaders was successful and something I would like to be a part of, and I don’t think the inaugural class is finished just yet,” Hembry said. “I want to be part of this next class. I want to come back after I graduate and see that they’re doing great things with those students and still going abroad and spreading their knowledge to the world.”
The Vols open official preseason camp on Aug. 8 and the season begins with the DISH Volleyball Classic on Aug. 26-27 at Thompson-Boling Arena.