26th May, 2023 — juniors

Good Sports celebrates young Aboriginal athletes in Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide Athletics is proud of its Yartapuulti Squad – which has won championships, as well as government, sports and community achievement awards.

Yartapuulti is the traditional name for Port Adelaide, which is on the land of the Kaurna People.

The Squad started in 2016 by offering exercise and well-being sessions to the Adelaide Aboriginal community.

Club Secretary Kathy Nelson said that it’s all about having a go and providing pathways for young locals to be involved in athletics in a fun and culturally safe environment.

“It’s about trying athletics, whether it’s running, jumping or throwing.”

“We were the first track and field club to introduce athletics as a sport of choice for the Aboriginal community. We saw that the Port Adelaide footy club was doing it well and thought why can’t we do it too. It’s good for other sports to get involved.”

Making a difference in Port Adelaide

“If the kids come out to train and grow their skills, we are fulfilling our purpose, getting them to do healthy exercise. They can take athletics seriously or do it just for the fun of it,” said Kathy.

The Good Sports club is immensely proud of the program which has produced outstanding Aboriginal role models.

Kathy gave the example of the Squad’s current coach, Temaana Sanderson-Bromley, who was a shy kid when he first started.

“He’s now a confident 19-year-old who went on to be a state hammer champion and a South Australian Young Achiever Award winner. He has been a shining light for us.”

The Squad’s kids, who are mainly 11 to 13 years old, come together each week to warm up as a group and then train on their preferred athletics skill.

The free program benefits First Nations kids by giving them confidence, a sense of safety, as well as pride in who they are.

The kids get a t-shirt or polo shirt that identifies them as part of Port Adelaide Athletics. Kathy says this helps to make them feel part of the group and that they belong to the mob.

“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback. A lot of parents come and watch the kids, and it’s a bit of a social thing for them too.”

Strengthening understanding

Along the way, the initiative has created awareness and understanding about Aboriginal issues among the club’s wider membership.

“It’s been a win win for the club. We put an Aboriginal design on our club uniform. Our people now know more about Aboriginal culture and the committee is very supportive.”

Benefits of joining Good Sports

The Port Adelaide Athletics Club has been an accredited member of Good Sports for many years with the objective of keeping its standards at the highest level. Good Sports accreditation led to the club putting in place a review of its Constitution and Strategic Plan.

Kathy said that having a body that assists with governance also assists committee members to stay on track.

“Good Sports makes us more aware of all the things we need to do to remain a club of excellence.”

This article was originally published in May 2023

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