A big day for grassroots sports in Australia

Linkages and partnerships are the lifeblood of any sporting organisation in Australia, at all levels of the organisation and sport, and administrators need advice on how to link, market and get grants to support their work. The 2012 Sports Without Borders Our Community National Sports Conference aimed to address this need and support sporting organisation by providing insights, case studies, opportunities and connections through great speakers and hands-on workshops.

The conference was opened and welcomed by indigenous elder Ron Murray, who shared stories and an inspiring didgeridoo performance in a celebration of Australia’s indigenous roots.

Another indigenous spokesperson, Chris Johnson from the AFL starred in the new Sports Without Borders social inclusion campaign - “We’re All On the Same Team,” or WAOTST. The one- minute TVC was launched by Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs, who also opened the conference. The ad features Liz Cambage, Liz Ellis, Andrew Gaze, Steve Moneghetti, Chris Johnson, Lydia Lassila, Robert “Dipper” Dipierdomenico and John Aloisi. Co-produced by SWB, ProjectProject, Satchel Media and HM Creative the ad holds a subtle yet powerful message that anything can be achieved on a sporting field if we play on the same team. It also celebrates the humble beginnings of these star athletes by filming them in the environments where they began their journey.

Chris Johnson believes the ad can have an important positive impact in the sporting field where there are many negative messages around racism. WAOTST is a social media campaign – please follow on You Tube, Twitter and Facebook.

The conference kept pace under the guidance of ABC’s Paul Kennedy, and Phil Ruthven, of IBIS,  presented “State of the Nation,” an insightful and fascinating look  at happiness indexes and Australian trends.

This was followed by three best practice studies.

  • ·      Sue Crow, Melbourne Heart and ‘Girls with Heart’ project
  • ·      Clem Rodney, Western Australia Indigenous Sports Program
  • ·      Anna-Louis Kassulke, Gold Coast Recreation, (Check title of her presentation)

The Reporters Academy were again invited by SWB to cover the conference, and a gang of young reporters came down, eager to hone their camera, interviewing and journalism skills on the conference participants.  In an early career highlight, they interviewed Senator Kate Lundy.

The afternoon session saw interactive workshops including Patrick Moriarty’s (Our Community)  “Show Me The Money,” a workshop on how to get grants and money for your club and organisation. The presentation was a reality check for those applying for grants – or not applying: “If you don’t apply for a grant, you usually won’t get it” said Patrick. The workshop simplified the complicated task of applying for grants for organisations often too busy to focus on grant writing.

Brett de Hoedt, founder and Mayor of Hootville, a PR agency that services not-for-profits, took a workshop on how to market your sports club and get more members. The workshop was an incisive look at what advertising works and doesn’t, and included information on social media and new media campaigns.

Athalia Zwartz, Executive Director, Sports Without Borders presented a workshop on how to link and manage partnerships. After setting the scene with a recent SWB case study, participants then discussed and reflected on partnerships, how they work and how they can work better.

Frances Leach, one of the most experienced and respected sports writers and commentators Australia has seen shared his story and reflections in the final session. He is a boy from Broady (Broadmeadows) who has a passionate belief in the grassroots approach to sport, and what sport can offer in the rigours and challenges of life.

At the close of the 2012 Sports Without Borders Our Community Conference, participants left inspired, energised and informed, armed with new skills to tackle the challenges of running their sports clubs and organisations.

A highlights video of the conference will be available shortly.