Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why I'm grateful for NASCA!

On Wednesday I attended the AGM for the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) of which I am an (unpaid) board member. I’ve also been a role model attending two ARMtours (Athletes as Role Models tour) to the Northern Territory.

Every meeting I attend at NASCA, which is housed at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Redfern, reminds me of the significant and life-changing work being done for our young people. I am incredibly proud to be part of a thriving organisation and to lend my name and time to NASCA, which is fully governed by an all-Aboriginal board. From what I understand, we are the only organisation in the field who can claim that.

Today, I just wanted to note some of the wonderful achievements of NASCA over time, but specifically over the past 12 months, and reiterate some of what CEO Charles Prouse flagged at the AGM.

The ARMtour program in the past year has continued to visit four remote communities in the Northern Territory – Papunya, Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte), Ntaria (Hermannsburg) and Yuelamu (Mt Allan).   

2011 saw ARMtour lead an inaugural swimming carnival between Santa Teresa and Ntaria students, with a plan to also add an annual athletics carnival to the calendar.  The tours are seen as a stable part of the community calendar and are greatly anticipated.  With a new coordinator onboard, Olympian, Patrick Johnson, improvements continue to be made in the design and delivery of ARMtour.

Sporting Chance Academies: In 2011 we had our first Year 12 graduation camp.  Students who had been in our academy program since 2007 and had started in year 7 graduated high school.  It was an extremely proud moment for staff to see those students graduate. 

The Walan Barramal (Hold Strong) - South Sydney Academy has grown, adding a Careers and Goal setting component to its list of education sessions.  The program has seen even stronger relationships develop between NASCA and the three schools, Tempe, Marrickville and Alexandria Park. 2011 saw Walan Barramal host their inaugural Careers Expo at Alexandria Park Community School. It was a fantastic day, and presented an excellent opportunity for the students to engage with NASCA’s Corporate and Program partners. Walan Barramal has also partnered with High Resolves to deliver a Leadership Course, resulting in students having a structured opportunity to research their personal totems and culture. Students have also had exciting opportunities to be introduced to new sports, including tennis and surfing, to support healthy and active lifestyles. 

The Gambirrang (Our Future) – Dubbo Academy has been strengthening at an incredible rate.  Term 1 saw Mitch Lavery join the team.  Students participated in a range of activities from work experience at Kapooka Army Base, to the “Gambirrang Girls” winning second at Vibe Alive Youth Festival in Moree. Delroy College students created an amazing Aboriginal garden at the school, and students from all the schools hosted Traditional Indigenous Games and other NAIDOC events during NAIDOC week.  

The Careers and Aspirations Program (CAP) solidified its place in NASCA’s suite of programs.  Bringing five schools and more than 149 students to our home at the NCIE over the course of 2011, the program receives a resounding endorsement from the schools and students.  Edie Coe has led the CAP team through an enormous period of growth.  This program has been successful in getting the corporate sector involved to engage students around careers opportunities after graduation.
Schools to participate in the program include, Griffith High School (NSW), Vincentia High (NSW), Spinifex College (Qld), Yirarra College (NT) and Barkley College (NT).

We also provided Grooming and Deportment training to over 20 Aboriginal girls in the areas of Bathurst and La Perouse.

NCIE:  Our relationship with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence as one of its most active Foundation Partners continues to grow.  In the 2011 calendar year we delivered seven camps through our Careers and Aspirations Program and with our Academies in the form of our very first Year 12 graduation camp.

In 2011, NASCA brought over 140 Aboriginal students to the NCIE for up to a week at a time as well as numerous other students visiting the centre for gala days and activities.

I am increasingly inspired and motivated by the work and vision of NASCA, and hope that you are also. I am also grateful for the privilege of working with a passionate team all with the same goal of empowering young Aboriginal Australians to ensure they have the best future possible.

To see how you can be part of this evolving organisation as a support, click onto our website here.

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