Sport is incredibly rewarding for young people, and netball has become a powerful incentive for a number of young students at the Jilkminggan School in Katherine in the Northern Territory.
The Jilkminggan 11/under and 13/under netball teams are rewarded for school attendance and positive behaviour, with a 150km road trip to Katherine each week to play in a competition facilitated by the Katherine Netball Association, where the students are welcomed by the community with open arms.
The Katherine Netball Association, in partnership with Jilkminggan School, has made every effort to ensure the young players are warmly received, including making modifications around registration processes due to the remote location of the players, and arranging flexible match scheduling to suit the needs of the student teams.
Umpires and opposing team players also take the time to explain the rules of the sport throughout each game so those students without prior experience can learn the rules and have fun participating.
The Jilkminggan students thoroughly enjoy their games and meeting fellow netballers, but the benefits of their participation extend way beyond the courts.
With the new experience of visiting Katherine on a regular basis and meeting other children from beyond their community, the students are striving to improve their school attendance and behavior to ensure they can travel and play each week.
The association was rewarded with an Australia Post One Netball Community Award last year for their incredible work in Northern Territory, which included a $1000 voucher, a signed netball by the 2017 Samsung Australian Diamonds squad and a netball clinic by three-time Queensland Firebirds premiership player and One Netball Ambassador, Clare McMeniman.
The champion defender, McMeniman said being involved in the One Netball program has always been incredibly rewarding.
“My trip to Jilkminggan was one of my favourite One Netball visits.
“It was such a special moment for me to see the joy, smiles and laughter our game is bringing to the Jilkminggan School and their community and, extends beyond the court and into the classroom.
“The collaborative efforts of Katherine Netball Association and The Jilkminggan school, in particular teacher, Hayley Walker, are to be celebrated as they champion an inclusive netball environment by providing some of the most enthusiastic and charismatic children I’ve ever met, the opportunity to become a part of a broader community on a weekly basis and share their spirited nature with others…..which I’ll tell you now, is like magic,” McMeniman said.
If you know a club, association or individual that goes above and beyond to create a welcoming netball environment, nominate them today for a 2018 Australia Post One Netball Community Award. But hurry – nominations close Sunday 29 July. Visit onenetball.org.au to find out more.