Participation and Inclusion
The first Sports Without Borders National Sports Conference on 27 June, 2011, truly crossed all borders and left those in attendance undoubtedly more inspired and informed about community sport and the need to address issues around inclusion.
From educators like Dr. Justen O'Connor to true stars like Grant Hackett, interested politicians like Kate Lundy and social media and brand experts Chris Gillard and Raef Akehurst from ProjectProject - all speakers were well received, judging by the Q and A panel sessions, discussions and feedback during the conference breaks.
The collections of speakers turned out to be just the right blend of intellect and passion, and were met with enthusiastic questions from the crowd of well over 350. The day was expertly anchored by ABC’s Paul Kennedy and the funny and energetic Brett De Hoedt who kept the packed conference ticking along with quips, quotes and questions.
It was clear form the outset that this conference was going to be a special one. The opening 'hour of power' from Kate Lundy and Judy Flanagan was an example of the breadth of sporting knowledge, passion and expertise that women sporting administrators in Australia possess.
Opportunities were made by the speakers and the conference format for audience members to directly plead their case or to have any query answered. Direct questions from the audience included 'What happened to my funding application?' - frank and open exchanges between audience and speakers were the order of the day. The big questions that were addressed:
- The need for action on discrimination against those members of Australian society who are disadvantaged by race, colour, cultural heritage, ability or socio economic position
- How we need to socially include all people for the economic and social good of Australia and in terms of positively addressing social, physical and mental well-being.
- The need for sport and physical activity to be integrated with community and education policies and not seen in isolation.
- The need to address the impact of new challenges and opportunities for Australian community sport sectors by leveraging social media, promoting volunteering and acting on social inclusion trends.
A more inspired sports sector, more connected to the community
The results of the conference were clear: new networks and a more inspired community sports sector more connected to the community than ever before. Hopefully the conference will create an ongoing dialogue between those that administer sport, the volunteers, community leaders and local government.
Sports Without Borders will be updating www.sportswithoutborders.org each day with summaries of each panel discussion from the conference. OurCommunity.com.au will also make available the panel speeches next week or when they become available.
Twitter: Follow @sportswb (Conference # is #swb2011)
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Check out the SportsWithoutBorders YouTube channel.
Thomas Demetriou Rick Willis
Media Officer Network Four
M: 0400 002 953 M: 0411839344