Torrential rain hit Moorestown last Tuesday night, causing power outages and damage throughout the area. However, at Jeff Young Memorial Park, Kennedy Hubbard, along with many volunteers, did not let the storm stop them from reaching their goal.
Hubbard, a recently graduated senior and volleyball player from Moorestown High School, along with many volunteers, has been working hard the past few days to get new sand volleyball courts built within the township. They were approved to be built at Jeff Young Memorial Park and are to be named in her and her non-profit foundation’s name — Kennedy’s Cause, Inc.
“It’s going to be amazing, everyone is going to know that it will be by us. Volleyball is a huge part of my life, and everyone who knows that is excited. This is something that I feel I’ve given to the community, who has done so much for me. This is just one way to give back,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard suffers from Lymphatic Malformation. Since birth, she has had a large facial difference and a trach since her airway is blocked. Six years ago, she created Kennedy’s Cause to raise funds for medical research to find a cure for Lymphatic Malformation and assist families facing financial struggles due to medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance.
Despite the Lymphatic Malformation, Hubbard was inspired to play volleyball and wanted to join from watching her sister play. And play she did, as she has been the starting setter on her high school varsity team for two years as well as played four years of club volleyball.
Volleyball has saved Hubbard in so many ways. The sport has given her self-confidence and friendships that she would have never had.
“I’ve known Kennedy since I was in third grade. A lot of us know her through school and the volleyball program. She is a phenomenal volleyball player; she is actually going to play volleyball at Stockton. Everyone has grown to know her through the community and has looked up to her and watched her grow. She has really turned into a phenomenal person,” said Rachel Fordham, a MHS graduate and volleyball player.
“Honestly, if it weren’t for the sport, I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t have the friends and support system that I do. With me going off to college next year, I just wanted to give back to the local community. And why not bring volleyball into it?” Hubbard said.
Hubbard approached Cindi Britton of the Department of Parks and Recreation with her idea for the sand volleyball courts. With Britton’s help, Hubbard pitched her idea to the Recreation Advisory Board, which was in favor of it and brought it to township council, which unanimously gave the sand volleyball courts its blessing.
“Nobody didn’t like the idea,” Britton said.
Jeff Young Memorial Park in the Lenola section of the town was chosen for the courts as there was the space for them. The courts are built to regulation NCAA sand volleyball standards.
“It is an awesome location. There are a lot of people in the area who can benefit from these courts,” Britton said.
“I live in the Lenola section of town. When we lost the hockey rink, it was a hard blow because my kids and the neighborhood lost a place to play. With these courts, we are gaining another athletic facility down this end of town and I think it is great,” MHS volleyball coach Scott Atkinson said. “As a volleyball coach, I think it is great that we’re going to have sand courts that we can get on and train on. Volleyball is one of the unique sports that you can play well past your high school career. Now it will be giving our adults the opportunity to go and out play on sand in really one of the best facilities away from the beaches.”
Hubbard, Britton and many other volunteers gave their time last week to put together the courts, despite the storm on Wednesday. They’ve been working hard to get the courts done and up and running as soon as they can.
Everything for the courts was donated. The township donated the plot of land; Sam Schlindwein Excavation removed the 400 tons of dirt and provided the 400 tons of sand; The Kennedy Companies donated landscaping fabric and a drainage pipe; Sports Imports donated the nets, poles and anchors; Scott Mooney of the Cherry Hill Volleyball Club, and Kennedy’s Cause made a monetary donation; and Moorestown’s Department of Parks and Recreation, girls and boys high school volleyball teams, Lenola firefighters, Kennedy Cause volunteers and high school students all came out as volunteers.
“I think this is wonderful. She got so much from volleyball. It is wonderful to see all of these people coming forward for Kennedy,” Britton said.
For her hard work, the volleyball courts are being named in Hubbard’s and her foundation’s honor.
“I think the fact that it is going to have Kennedy’s name on it, with everything she’s given to the community just by being Kennedy, will be nice. To have something here in her name for people to have her memory in their minds for a very long time is outstanding,” Atkinson said.
As of Thursday, June 25 the courts were still being put together, but Hubbard and Britton hoped to have them done within the next few days. When they open, the courts will be available for use by all.