Changing Communities Through Basketball
In the Northern Territory suburb of Palmerston, basketball is changing kids’ lives.
This year, the Palmerston and Regional Basketball Association (PaRBA) hasn’t just demonstrated what it means to be inclusive – they have the set the bar high in their commitment to ensuring everyone in their community gets to play their favourite game in a safe, healthy and judgement-free environment.
A grassroots club established in 2014, PaRBA was formed to meet a need in the community – a place where sports-loving people could come together and play basketball, no matter what their circumstances or background. If there is a barrier in place that prevents people from accessing sport, PaRBA finds a way around it.
“We has senior players begin to withdraw from comps due to sore knees, so we implemented Walking Basketball,” says Rachel Fosdick, Program Manager at PaRBA. “We had at-risk youth hanging around the courts, unable to participate due to fee costs. So we implemented Streetball, our free basketball program for children 10-17 years.
“We now have representative opportunities for players with disabilities… if we don’t have a program that suits your needs, we will create one!”
Rachel says that becoming an accredited Good Sports club has helped to keep PaRBA accountable to their commitments and challenge their traditional ways of working.
“Previously our senior social events were held at the local pub,” she says. “Speaking to our [Good Sports] local coordinator, it was an easy transition into creating social functions that were not reliant on drinking or heading to the pub.
“We host healthy eating BBQs at our courts rather than meeting at the pub after a game. We have found many of our players now stay behind to be involved, who previously would not. We have found that players now bring their families to the games to be involved.”
By removing the focus off alcohol, younger people were able to become engaged in PaRBA functions, helping to prep meals, serve drinks and become a much bigger part of the celebration. As a result, more families are enrolling their children in PaRBA activities.
“We changed the culture around celebrations and it has increased participation,” Rachel says. “This award acknowledges the good work a large group of enthusiastic volunteers do week-in week-out for no reward other than giving back to their community.”
“All you need to play and practice basketball is a ball,” Rachel says. “We can equip many players with a ball and we can change their world.”