Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Inaugural Geraldton NAIDOC Sports Festival

The Geraldton NAIDOC Sports Festival was launched today in beautiful weather. Organised by Margaret Maxwell, seven local schools attended for a day of inter school softball. During the byes, the children were able to engage in various activities including: painting, author/illustrator talks and a Polaroid photo booth.

In celebration of NAIDOC, the Yamatji Brothers presented a corroboree of four dances, performed by local high school students

There was a notable emphasis on health at the Sports Festival. For lunch, accompanying the chicken and beef sausage sizzle (having that option was lovely) there was a selection of healthy snacks. Four types of dips were available including: capsicum, two onion variations and a chickpea salsa with flat bread, carrot, celery and cucumber for dipping. Another table presented fresh popcorn. Since the sausages were not cooked a this point, all of the children were happy to eat this food. Few complained.

Another show of support was a free calico pack of goodies for each child. Inside was a CD of music that discusses mental health, brochures of support numbers and information about Kidsport (which promotes youth recreation),  a sticker and a postcard. 

The supporting activities to the Sports Festival were fun for not only the children attending, but for the speakers as well. The Giggle Box photo booth was great fun, with four photos taken per sitting. I made it my mission to have picture taken with all of the other speakers, which was successful. The students, especially, loved the photo booth and were supplied with novelty hats appropriately to use as props. As a distraction for the children to break up a day of sport, this was a genius idea. 

Local artist Patrick Lee was generous enough to donate canvas grounds to the event. Each child was proposed the opportunity to hand print the canvases in acrylic paint with the speakers joining as well. Each attending school will receive a canvas, which is a marvellous way to engage the students with their school. Wooden boomerangs were located on a separate table to be painted as well.

A group of authors and illustrators were sponsored by the Children's Charity Network and Mt Gibson Iron Ore to talk to the students. The group included both interstate and local speakers: Kevin Burgemeestre, Sally Murphy, Cristy Burne and myself, Den L. Scheer. The school children were split into small groups for readings and a Q&A session and we will be work shopping at Bluff Point Primary School for the next two days. To me, this seemed like a casual way to introduce us to the kids so that when we do start to teach them our faces will be familiar.

Margaret, you did a fantastic job organising today and I would highly recommend attending the event in the future. The activities were fantastic. It was well publicised with local media attending and the food was fantastic. Great work. 

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