ACT Participation Workshop held at the Australian Sports Commission
Following successful workshops held in Melbourne and Sydney, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), in collaboration with Sport and Recreation Services ACT, hosted a participation workshop at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 63 per cent of children in Australia play at least one organised sport outside school hours.
The workshop addressed topical issues in grassroots sports and was attended by more than 20 representatives from ACT sporting organisations including athletics, netball, Special Olympics, and many more. The workshop focused on strategies and methods for sports to increase participation and achieve success at the local level.
The ASC presented results of a recent survey, which revealed some of the top issues in junior sport such as recruitment and retention, the cost of participation (facilities), providing age-appropriate levels of competition and training, workforce development (for both volunteers and coaches), incentives for volunteers, and parental behaviour.
Pat McCann, Game Development Manager of Capital Football, found the workshop particularly informative. ‘The ASC participation workshop allowed us the time to gain valuable insights into how other sports approach the challenges associated with participation,’ he commented.
‘While our specific challenges may be different, the environments we operate in are very similar. Seeing firsthand how other sports approach particular issues gave us the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate what we currently do in the areas of participation and inclusion.’
By highlighting local case studies, the workshop provided practical strategies to address participation opportunities in junior sport and sport for people with disabilities. For example, the importance of engaging parents in the delivery of sports programs was highlighted in a case study presented by Cricket ACT. Cricket ACT has found that providing incentives for mums and dads, such as a coffee and bakery cart, has helped boost parental participation levels.
Liz Yuen, Participation and Disability Officer for Sport and Recreation Services ACT, was encouraged by the high turnout at the workshop. ‘In the ACT, state sporting groups are very well represented and it’s a highly competitive market for such a small field,’ she said. ‘I enjoyed hearing the examples from Cricket ACT, as they have provided options for time-poor parents with busy schedules.’