North Woden Tennis Club leading by example
After more than 50 years of serve and volley, slice and slam, it would have been easy for North Woden Tennis Club to sit back and carry on as usual.
But club members saw a need that wasn’t being met anywhere else in the region. They decided to embrace players with limited mobility.
Club Secretary Jillian Mitchell said the club, about 20 minutes south of Canberra, did a lot of fundraising to make the courts and facilities wheelchair accessible.
“We’re the only club in the ACT that offers wheelchair tennis,” Jillian said.
“Nowhere in the region was doing it. One of our club members is now ranked in the top 100 in the world in the (wheelchair) competition.”
Always thinking about inclusion, participation and player welfare, Jillian and the leadership committee contacted Good Sports after reading about it in a local newsletter.
After completing the online registration, Jillian was contacted by a Good Sports team member. She answered a series of questions over the phone to complete the free Level 1 accreditation.
The club’s $1000 Good Sports win from a join-up competition running at the time was an unexpected bonus. It will help maintain and repair court surfaces to prevent player injury.
Because they were already meeting a lot of the Good Sports criteria through the way they operated, the club quickly jumped straight into Level 2 accreditation.
For instance, the club offers its social players a single drink – including soft drink, water or juice – so everyone arrives home safely.
Safe place for juniors
“We have quite a large number of junior elite athletes in our club. We try to encourage good sportsmanship,” Jillian said.
“The Good Sports program we see as complementing that. It is providing awareness and encouraging our junior athletes to live healthy lives.”
Good Sports provides free tools and resources to provide the best possible experience for members and the busy volunteers who keep the club running.
Since they started displaying the promotional material provided by Good Sports, parents have started asking what it’s all about.
“For instance our president was running the barbecue. He was wearing the Good Sports apron that we got through the accreditation. That was a real conversation starter,” Jillian said.
“To be honest, before that, the parents didn’t really know about it. Now they see it as a good, positive initiative.”