A prime example of this is the Kingston and Districts Netball Association in Melbourne’s south, which has been offering the introductory program for the past five years.
This year the association formed a partnership with the Cheltenham Community Centre to be able to expand and increase the capacity of the ANZ NetSetGO program so it would be more accessible for more of the local community and cater for more diverse abilities of the children involved.
Ruth Parker, who is the secretary of the Kingston and Districts Netball Association, is also the netball coordinator for the Cheltenham Community Centre and said by joining forces it’s helped streamline the enrolment process and also allowed more programs to be offered.
“In the first term (of this year) we only had one program and 21 participants,” Parker said. “We went to about 54 (enrolments) in term two, 69 in term three and in term four we’ve got 83 participants and four programs running.
“We’ve hired Cheltenham Secondary College indoor facility as well as running the ANZ NetSetGO programs at our netball courts on a Saturday as well. We’ve got children coming from 27 primary schools in our catchment area coming to our programs.
“We’ve already got a waiting list for places for next year.”
Parker has praised the work done by Arna O’Connell who, not only is the manager of the Cheltenham Community Centre but also a volunteer coach at the Kingston and Districts association, for the growth of the ANZ NetSetGO program.
Located in an area of Melbourne that’s projected to enjoy strong population growth in the future, clubs in the Kingston and Districts Netball Association hope the success of the ANZ NetSetGO program will act as a feeder base well into the future.
“This term we’ve got 32 new participants which is fantastic but we’ve got a lot who are returning and want to do the whole year, not just one 10-week program. They then progress into the modified games on the Saturday so there’s a huge amount of girls coming along and trying the skills component.
“You just want kids to play and enjoy netball.”
Parker’s two daughters Hayley, 7, and Clare, 5, are also keen participants in the program.
As part of the program, athletes from the Kingston and District Netball Association’s underage squads are involved in teaching the ANZ NetSetGO participants and Parker said they are also helped and guided by the instructors.
“I’ve always been passionate about junior development programs and we’re training our young kids to empower them to be possible coaches and leaders in the future,” she said.
Not only did they showcase what ANZ NetSetGO has to offer at half-time, the group also got to walk out with both teams before the match, an experience Parker said many are still talking about.
“I couldn’t think of better mentors for those kids to have. They are such amazing athletes and it was inspirational watching them,” Parker said.