Little athletes need helpers

Anyone looking for a welcoming, fun way to give back to their community is likely to find something to suit them at the Corio Little Athletics Centre.

The centre is recruiting volunteers for its summer season, with roles available in the canteen, coffee-making, first aid, barbecue, coaching, as event officials and helpers, time keeping, race starting, photography, announcing, setting up equipment and administration roles.

The Little Athletics Centre, based at Goldsworthy Reserve, relies on a team of volunteers who are current parents, community members, and parents or grandparents of past athletes who have stayed because they enjoy the atmosphere so much.

There is much to be gained by volunteering – meeting new friends, becoming part of a team and making a difference. Volunteers are valued for bringing their existing skills and being supported to learn new ones.

Several volunteers have been with the Centre for many years and love being able to provide the Little Aths experience to today’s athletes.

Meridith and her son joined the Centre four years ago and soon realised what a great family activity Little Aths is. When the canteen manager retired, she saw an opportunity to use her experience and took over the role. 

Meridith has also recently become the Centre Secretary and loves volunteering “to give back to the community and for socialisation”.

Past athletes are also staying on, building the start of the next generation of volunteers. Jess is a race walk judge and first aider during summer and sets up equipment for schools during winter. Jess volunteers “because I like giving back to the community who supported me”.

Some volunteer roles require a Working with Children Check. For information, contact Meridith, phone 0412-166-760 or email [email protected]

Changing young lives through sport

Northern Bay College captains Jevic Mwenza and Ali Sinawalizada have clear goals for life, thanks largely to their involvement in their school’s SEED program.

SEED stands for Sport, Empowerment, Education and Development. It uses sport as a foundation for creating young people with leadership and life skills, as well as pathways to future study and work.

Jevic is striving to secure a scholarship with a USA college that will see him playing soccer and studying. Ari is aiming to complete a Business Degree and keep playing soccer. Both have been in the SEED program throughout their secondary schooling, and both credit it with helping guide their future pathways.

“SEED is a guide for sport and life,” Jevic said. “It’s a structure to be a better person. My family sees it as professional, like an academy school. It makes me want to be better.”

Ari said the program is “all about opportunity and building character and giving back to the school. Being role models is important to us; we want to leave a legacy.”

SEED, in its sixth year, is overseen by Director of Sport Steven ‘Stoofa’ Lewry and Sports Co-ordinator Ben Lowry. They co-ordinate sports including cricket, basketball, volleyball, badminton, AFL, soccer and athletics both onsite at the Goldsworthy Campus, and other sporting venues. Specialist coaches are brought in for each sport.

The students have access to a gym for strength and conditioning, while a Track Club running every day from 7.30 until 8.15am has up to 60 participants. Coach and trainer Mark McDowell went the former Corio Technical School on the same site and is amazed at the transformation of the school and the opportunities it has created. “I also enjoy the diversity and how they all get on,” he said.

Senior students have the option to study Sport and Recreation as a VET course, which gives them a qualification and keeps them involved in their sport. For some it results in a job at the school, with nine graduates employed in traineeships this year, on their pathway to teaching.

Campus principal Erin Prendergast said the success of SEED lies in its ability to engage students and give them purpose. “For some, it gets them here for the day.”

Ms Prendergast said about 70 per cent of students on the Goldsworthy campus are SEED participants. SEED Links programs have also been established on the college’s four other campuses and play a role in helping Grade 5 and 6 students transition to the senior campus.

Lauren Kelly is another participant who is setting big goals – she wants to play cricket for Australia and become a primary school PE teacher. She’s confidently on track to meet both goals.

Lauren is receiving additional training as a Barwon Sports Academy athlete and last cricket season with North Geelong won a premiership, the batting award for Geelong Cricket Association’s Under 19 competition, was second in the bowling award and was named best junior.

Basketballer James Finnie was considering a change of school before he entered the SEED program. He is now thinking about his future study, which might be sports science or nursing.

“SEED made the difference,” he said. “It gives me something I’m passionate about. I’m genuinely grateful.”

Steven Lewry remains committed to the program and delights in every success. “I’m proud of the students and their growth,” he said. “They have stature in the community and a plan for their future.”

A good time to try Calisthenics

Cloverdale Calisthenics College is looking for more participants to join the fun, fitness and friendship of this uniquely Australian artistic sport.

The group was established in the Corio area in 1994 and has been providing opportunities for pupils of all ages since then, under the direction of Principal Coach Mandy Mueller.

Pupils from as young as three can join weekly classes, on Monday and Tuesday nights, to develop their skills in a range of areas. Together they learn to perform many choregraphed routines to music selected by the coaches and participate in competitions throughout the year, culminating with an end-of-year display.

Calisthenics offers its pupils an opportunity to improve flexibility and strength while learning and performing items that include handling clubs and rods, marching, singing, dancing and items of precision involving movements of gymnastics and the grace of ballet. Pupils strive for excellence and build self-confidence while working in a team environment.

For more information, contact Cloverdale Calisthenics College, phone 0418-559-241, or find the group on Facebook.

Facility supports health and fitness

Northern Bay College has a new strength and conditioning centre, that is proving popular with students and staff. Craned onto the Goldsworthy Campus, the modular complex is attached to the gymnasium and gives students and staff a state-of-the-art facility.

Initially designed to support the Years 7-12 SEED (Sports, Empowerment, Education and Development) Program, it has quickly become a much in-demand facility by other programs, students and staff. Sessions are run as part of the health and physical education program run by college staff.

Before College staff and students access the equipment, they are first given a pre-exercise questionnaire and induction by qualified personal trainer. This includes safety for users and care of the equipment.

Starting in Term 2, lunchtime and after school sessions will be offered to students due to the popularity of the fitness centre. Access is not limited to sport students – any student or staff looking to improve their health and fitness is given a personalised program by an instructor, to support the goals that the individual is hoping to achieve. The strength and conditioning centre is a safe, secure and healthy environment, and regarded by the College as an outstanding long-term asset.

Fiona recognised for caring

MatchWorks Corio site manager Fiona McIntyre has been recognised for an important role she plays outside of her work. Earlier this year, Fiona was crowned the 2020 Lady of Racing for her work in retraining and rehoming former racehorses.

The award is run by The Victorian Wakeful Club in partnership with Racing Victoria and aims to celebrate women who have made an outstanding contribution to the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

Fiona has several former champions of racing in her care, but it was her work with two former champions that set her apart in the award. She looks after Bart Cummings’ former grand stayer Precedence, who competed in four Melbourne Cups and won two Moonee Valley Cups.

Precedence and Fiona have competed in the past two Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout events held during the Melbourne Show and widely recognised as the pinnacle of the horse showing world. Another of Bart Cummings’ former stars, Sirmione, is also in Fiona’s care and has also had a successful equestrian career.

RV CEO Giles Thompson said Fiona was a very worthy winner.

“Fiona has long been an advocate for life after racing, and has worked tirelessly to ensure former racehorses lead happy and healthy lives once they have left the track,” he said.

“We are very fortunate to have Fiona as one of the RV Acknowledged Re-trainers who support our Off The Track program, which aims to facilitate the placement of retired racehorses in secondary careers and drive demand for thoroughbreds as performance and pleasure horses.”

Fiona said was honoured to receive the award for doing something she loves.

Cricket flavour to school visit

Former Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove was a special guest at Northern Bay College in February.

The event celebrated the arrival of a new bowling machine donated to the college by the Lord’s Taverners Geelong. The machine is a significant addition to the college’s sport program.

Lord’s Taverners was established in London in 1950 by a group of actors who enjoyed a pint watching the cricket from the Old Tavern pub at Lord’s. In 1982, John Darling established the first Australian branch and Geelong became the 11th branch in 2017.

Lord’s Taverners Australia raises funds for charities, based on its slogan: “Giving the young and disadvantaged a sporting chance”.

At Northern Bay College, Sir Peter, Lady Cosgrove and chair of Cricket Australia Earl Eddings were on hand to see the first ball being bowled by the machine. They joined other guests in enjoying an insight into the schools SEED (Sports, Empowerment, Education and Development) program, with students explaining how they are benefiting from the specialist program.

Sir Peter also took the opportunity to address the 2020 Year 12 student as they began their final year of secondary school.  Morning tea followed, prepared by the college’s senior VCAL students, on what was a memorable day for the college.

Fishing for new members

A new fishing club has formed in Corio, offering a family-friendly environment for all anglers.

Corio Bay Anglers Club meets fortnightly, on Wednesdays from 6pm-7pm, at Cloverdale Community Centre. The club already has 30 members involved in a variety of activities.

President Mick Conway said the club is for all-weather and all sorts of fishing and will host 12 to 14 fishing competitions each year. They also have plans to clean-up around the bay, including North Shore and St Helens beaches.

“Our members also share their knowledge, so it’s a good place for young anglers to come and get support and advice,” Mick said. “We encourage families to come along to our social events, which include our weigh-ins and barbecues at Moorpanyal Park.”

Mick said young anglers can learn from older members and can also access equipment for a day if they want to try fishing.

For more information, call 0421-739-618, email [email protected] or look for Corio Bay Fishing Club on Facebook.

Diversitat Futsal Academy

Diversitat Futsal Academy is an early intervention pilot project for refugee youth aged 14-18 years and residing in Geelong.

The program aims to use indoor soccer to build resilience through increasing access to positive role modelling for at-risk young people, who have been in Australia less than five years.

The program promotes equal opportunity and access to opportunities in the broader community while building personal capacity to deal with confronting behaviours.

The program commenced in Term Two and engaged 24 diverse young people. They recently welcomed Melbourne Victory’s Yazid Said, who shared his journey from being a young person in Eretria to now playing professional soccer.

For more information about the program, email [email protected] or phone 5260-6000.

Something for everyone at bowling club

Norlane Bowling Club members Alison Devlin and Maureen Riley would like to see more women join their ranks as the club continues to grow.

Alison has been bowling for about 12 years, following her late father to the club. Over the years she has played up to three times a week and now represents the club in Saturday pennant.

“I like the challenge of the game with all the elements coming at you,” Alison said. “It’s a game that’s easy to learn but hard to master. I’m still trying to master it.”

Maureen is a social member and has found the bowling club a good place to meet people after recently moving to the area. She enjoys the friendship of the Friday night social functions and watching the bowls on competition days.

Newcomers are always welcome, whether they want to play bowls at a competitive level, have a social roll or access the facilities to socialise.

The club, in St George’s Road, has teams playing in Saturday pennant competition, while mixed social bowls are played at the club every Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm. Coaching is also available for members.

Socially, happy hour is held every Friday from 4.30pm and the club facilities are also available for hire. For more information phone 0478-768-598.

Bowling for everyone

Norlane Bowling Club members are always keen to welcome newcomers to their club, whether they want to play bowls at a competitive level, have a social roll or access the facilities to socialise.

The club, in St George’s Road, has two teams playing in Saturday pennant competition, in Divisions 4 and 11. Mixed social bowls are played at the club every Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm.

Club committee member Neil Watson said bowls is an ideal sport for all ages and abilities. The club also offers free coaching for anyone wanting to take up bowls or develop their game.

“We have happy hour every Friday from 4.30pm and invite people to come and join us,” Neil said. “We have affordable social and playing memberships.”

The club facilities are also available for hire. For more information phone 0478-768-598.