Junior Good Sports on and off the pitch
For locals, it’s hard to imagine Blackburn without the Blackburn Cricket Club.
With origins dating back to the 1880s, Blackburn Cricket Club has been around nearly as long as Blackburn itself. It’s a club that has transformed with the local community, and grown to become one of Victoria’s largest local cricket destinations.
While the club started with a senior outfit, today it’s the juniors that dominate the score sheets. Blackburn’s 18 junior teams and specialist development programs for youngsters keep junior coaches busy and offer boys and girls the opportunity to develop no matter their skill-level or goals.
It’s all part of Blackburn’s determination to support the positive growth of juniors, on and off the pitch.
“Our team of volunteers thrive on seeing the kids enjoying playing cricket in an environment which will create lasting memories,” explains Secretary Jo-Anne Bowler.
Joining Good Sports and completing the nib foundation Good Sports Junior program made sense for a club that cares so strongly for its littlest members.
According to Jo-Anne, it’s also reassuring for parents to join a club that has committed to participate in a program like Good Sports Junior.
“Everything the club does is for the benefit of our players in the hope that they will understand what is expected of them and become the next generation of senior players, committee members and volunteers.”
As part of the program, Blackburn have implemented healthier choices for junior players at club events and moved away from any alcohol-based fundraising. It has also put in place a number of club policies around spectator behaviour and alcohol management. These are reviewed and published every 12 months.
These small changes are having a big impact. The club is now recognised in the community for its commitment to role-modelling healthier choices – a change that has led more players and volunteers to the club.
Jo-Anne has a lot to be pleased with as the Secretary of a long-running and successful club like Blackburn, but if you ask her what she’s most proud of it’s the stuff off-field that counts.
“The way the players look after each other is what makes me proud.”
It’s this spirit, connectedness and commitment to the community that has kept Blackburn afloat for over 100 years. It’s these same qualities that will see Blackburn thrive for another ton to come.