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OVA Hall of Fame: Builders (Paul & Shelley Brownstein)

Posted on 06/12/2018
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In the late 1960's, Paul Brownstein served as Coaching and Development Chairman for the Ontario Volleyball Association. When selected as the Canada Games coach for Ontario, Paul ran a number of developmental camps across the province to identify the athletes who would qualify for this team. He had implemented a similar camp in B.C., the first of its kind in Canada, and a number of these B.C. athletes where chosen to join the 1967 Canadian Pan American squad.

After the Canada games, Paul felt the need to improve the calibre of volleyball in Ontario and through the OVA, started Cayuga and Borden camps. These camps were primarily for elite athletes. Paul recognized the need for additional venues for intense volleyball instruction in camp-like settings.

Paul subsequently met Ted Cole, owner of Camp Walden located in Bancroft, Ontario. They became friends and Ted helped change Paul into a "volleyball for all" camp director, which allowed him to focus on giving every athlete the "passion" to play and coach, regardless of their skill level.

As camp grew in popularity, the OVA felt they could no longer administer these large numbers and asked Paul and his wife Shelley, to run the camp from their home and the OVA would simply be the "sponsor".

Madawaska flourished! For over 30 years, Paul and Shelley operated the camp together from their home office. Thousands of athletes and coaches world-wide from places like Ireland, Japan, Czechoslovakia, California, Venezuela, and Chile were captivated with the Madawaska experience.

Paul believed that Madawaska should be more than just a skill development camp. He wanted Madawaska to be a life experience for young men and women looking to hone their volleyball skills and knowledge of the game while enjoying the overnight, residential camp environment. Campers having fun was paramount to Paul and he strived to create a place where campers with similar goals could share their love and passion for the sport of volleyball.

Paul and Shelley retired from Madawaska in 2006 leaving their legacy in the hands of loyal members of the Madawaska extended family. Paul and Shelley with the support of their children Norman and Dina created a magical place for volleyball enthusiasts and those who've had the opportunity to participate at Madawaska are thankful for their time, effort and tenacity required to build this empire called Madawaska!