Twenty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes from across Australia will gather at the Australian Institute of Sport during NAIDOC Week 2017, for Netball Australia’s inaugural Indigenous High Performance Camp (IHPC).
From 7-9 July, the group of 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes will be mentored and supported by netball royalty, including former Aboriginal Diamonds representatives Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM, Sharon Finnan-White OAM, and Australian Diamonds Coach Lisa Alexander.
Ella-Duncan, the first Aboriginal woman to represent Australia in netball, a member of Netball Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group since 2014 and recently appointed Netball Australia Board member, is excited to work with the future of Indigenous netball.
“I am thrilled to bring this group of exciting athletes together at our inaugural camp. It is our aim that the IHPC will build the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes to develop the capability, skills and networks to succeed in the High Performance Pathway, and to become leaders both on and off the court,” said Ella-Duncan.
The Camp, which will be guided and delivered by the RAP High Performance Subcommittee, is one of many initiatives implemented since 2015 that aim to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and engagement across all aspects of the netball community.
Netball Australia CEO Marne Fechner believes the Camp, and other RAP activities, provide an ongoing opportunity not only for the athletes, but for staff and coaches in the High Performance Pathway to build their knowledge and understanding of how to best support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes.
“Our RAP journey has and will be one of ongoing learning and understanding, and this camp is no exception,” said Fechner.
“We see this camp as an opportunity for two-way learnings, so we can develop the Diamonds of the future, while also building our understanding of the cultural connections that gives these players such incredible strength.”
The Camp would not be possible without the support of Netball Australia’s National Community Inclusion Partner, Australia Post, who has collaborated to deliver One Netball initiatives since 2014.
“Australia Post is an organisation that values diversity and supports regional and remote Australia,” said Andrea Pearman, General Manager Marketing and Community at Australia Post.
“We are committed to providing meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and are proud to support Netball Australia in launching the inaugural Indigenous High Performance Camp. This camp reflects our commitment to reconciliation and ongoing support and celebration of the communities in which we serve.”
The Camp is also supported through the Australian Sport Commission’s 2017 Women In Sports Leadership program, with athletes to be guided and mentored in the development of their leadership capacity and capability, both on court and off.
The athletes were identified by Netball Australia and the State and Territory High Performance departments, through players’ involvement in selection pathways for national 17/U, 19/U, Australian Netball League and Suncorp Super Netball teams and squads.
The Camp is one of many initiatives of Netball Australia’s RAP, which commits the organisation to actions required to increase efforts and capability to support and engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, coaches, umpires, volunteers, their families and communities.
The final squad will be announced in the coming month.