Netball features at Indigenous sports camp

Melina SaundersNetball will feature prominently at a special Indigenous Sports Camp being held in Alice Springs this week hosted by the Northern Territory Department of Sport and Recreation.

The camp is aimed at Indigenous children aged between 10 and 15 who live in remote areas to give them a chance to be exposed to sports they normally wouldn’t have a chance to experience.

Former national league star Melina Saunders, pictured right, is travelling to the camp to teach netball skills to the chosen students supported by Haylee Gillies, Netball SA and Netball NT’s Community Engagement and Legacy Officer, and Netball NT’s Development Manager in Alice Springs Karen Randell.

The camp will also offer inspiring sessions with Indigenous sporting role models like Saunders and coaching and umpiring accreditation opportunities for community sport development officers to encourage communities to establish their own regular sporting competitions.

Saunders, a former Australian 21/U squad member and Queensland Firebird, said the sports camp was a great opportunity to show these communities what netball has to offer young, budding athletes.

“It’s really fantastic that the Northern Territory Government have organised an event like this,” Saunders said.

“It’s predominantly male sports (that are played in remote communities) so it’s good for young girls and boys to get that exposure to a different range of sports, like netball.

“Growing up, we tried lots of different sports but it was very dependent on your school arranging that so it’s fantastic for youngsters to get exposure to the sports not offered at their schools. They’ll get really good value out of this camp.”

Saunders, who works in Canberra as a mentor for the Deadly Sista Girlz program run by the Wirrpanda Foundation, as well as the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) said she enjoys introducing Aboriginal youngsters to netball.

“This is my passion, so if I can expose any child to our sport I’ll be the first one to put my hand up to do it, making sure they have a fun and positive experience” Saunders said.