Halifax PLAYS is only able to run our fantastic programs because of the hard work and care our many incredible volunteers put in behind the scenes. They give up their time to create leagues in their vision that, in their own unique ways, make community sports accessible and welcoming to all. This month, we would like to highlight and give thanks for the effort and commitment Zimari Yumva puts into his amazing basketball league!
Initially looking for a recreational basketball league to play in, Zimari came across the new Halifax PLAYS drop in program that had restarted just after the first COVID reopening last Fall 2020. After only playing for a short time and enjoying the league’s community and spirit, he offered to help out in organizing and has been a central volunteer to keep the program going ever since. As an organizer, Zimari has strived to create an environment that could be both competitive and fun, with a focus on a relaxed atmosphere with a ton of positive energy.
When speaking to participants in the basketball program, they only have the highest praise for Zimari and the environment he fosters. His league strikes a great balance of being welcoming to others, yet also structured, which helps make everyone feel included while avoiding confusion. His leadership helps with community-building by acclimating new players to the group, while also being able to adapt to changes on the fly, especially when so much was evolving with the pandemic. And at a personal level, Zimari has been praised as a great athlete and teammate as well as an attentive organizer who stays collected under pressure, even when faced with issues that come up like injuries, conflicts or rapidly changing health guidelines. To quote one of the players directly, “Zimar cultivates a positive and engaging atmosphere while simultaneously maintaining a solid organizational structure through exceptional leadership that represents the integrity of Halifax PLAYS.”
When asked to give advice to himself as a new volunteer, Zimari’s key takeaway was to ask others for help. Especially starting off, it is easy to underestimate the work you need to put in to create your desired program and it’s important not to be afraid to get help from others. In his words: “It was worth it for how much I’ve gotten from being part of HP, as well as this league and the awesome people who’ve been a part of it. Our volunteer team is growing as of this Fall season and that’s been great, but it definitely would have been helpful to start sowing those seeds more intentionally sooner.”
We are extremely thankful for the effort and commitment Zimari has given to create a fantastic basketball league. Through the donations by SportWheels and Cabin Coffee, Zimari will be able to add to his gear on the court and stay warm this winter with some hot beverages and baked goods. If you see Zimari out of the court, be sure to say thanks and give him a (virtual) high five!
THANK YOU Zimari, and thank you to all our incredible volunteers! 🙂