Gillies takes her place among world leaders

IMG_9327If you can have more than one ‘experience of a lifetime’ then Haylee Gillies has achieved that over the last 12 months.

Gillies, the Community Engagement & Legacy Officer for Netball SA and Netball NT, has recently returned from a two-week trip to South Korea where she took part in the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace Youth Leadership Camp.

She was among 32 participants from 16 countries across Asia and Oceania that attended the 10-day camp.

Gillies was selected to attend the prestigious camp after being nominated by Netball Australia’s International Development Manager, Olivia Philpott, for her work as a volunteer with the Tonga Netball Association (TNA).

She took time off her job at Netball SA to become an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) and spent last year in the Pacific Island nation helping to implement netball programs that aim to make women more active and lead healthier lifestyles.

IMG_9522Netball Australia acts as an Australian Partner Organisation for volunteers placed with netball associations across the Pacific through the Australian Government’s Australian Volunteers International program.

“The commitment and passion for sport for development that Haylee displayed throughout her year with Tonga Netball Association makes her exactly the kind of female role model that girls playing and working in netball in communities across Australia and the Pacific should aspire to be,” Philpott said.

Gillies was “very honoured” to be selected to attend the leadership camp that brings together people aged from 18 – 25 working on sport development projects to share ideas and receive training and guidance in best practices.

As one of two Australians selected to participate, Gillies said she enjoyed sharing stories about different netball projects she’s worked on in Australia and abroad, with people from similar fields.

“Everyone did something different. Some worked in sports media and there were others, like me, running different community programs,” Gilles said.

IMG_9520“I definitely went over with an open mind and was looking forward to meeting people from different cultures and religions and also to exploring opportunities for netball to engage with different cultures.

“Speaking to people from different countries about what they do gave me a broader understanding of how I can implement some of those strategies into my job at Netball SA and Netball NT.

“We had to put together our plans of attack for the next three, six and 12 months and email those to them so they can keep track of what we’re up to.

IMG_9132“I’m hoping to go up to the north of the state (South Australia) soon and speak to women and girls about empowering them to be leaders in their community.”

Her work in Tonga involved introducing netball programs into schools, running clinics and competitions.

She worked closely with staff and volunteers to build their capacity in a range of areas, and she has formed lasting relationships with the women of TNA.

What struck her was how much community involvement there was in participating in the sport.

“Particularly the volunteer side; we had so many people wanting to do jobs like score or umpire or anything,” Gillies said.

“They were always happy and turned up without notice. It makes you appreciate what we have back home.”