The SSI Ability Links sponsored Yuin Ducks A Grade rugby league girls team was runner up in 2016 Nations of Origin carnival held in Port Stephens, recently.
The annual PCYC Nations of Origin carnival – held this year from July 11 to 14 – is a multifaceted sport, cultural, education and leadership program that culminates during NAIDOC week. The program is about reconciliation, education, cultural identity and sport, aimed at increasing student retention. All participants are required to have an 80 per cent school attendance to be eligible to participate.
An SSI Linker based in Batemans Bay, Beverly Morton, provided support to the Yuin Ducks committee and team before and during the four day carnival.
"Teams are generally made up of 80% Indigenous and 20% non-Indigenous players, but the Yuin committee displayed inclusion by increasing the participation rate of non-Indigenous students and also including more disadvantaged students within our local communities," Ms Moreton said.
The Yuin Ducks – named after the Pacific black duck that is the totem for the Yuin tribal area – proudly wore their SSI Ability Links sponsored track suits and were model students over the four days, Ms Moreton said. The girls narrowly lost in the grand final in what was described as the best game of the entire tournament. The team included girls from Kianga, Narooma, Moruya and Batemans Bay.
Ms Moreton said there were numerous conversations around respect for country, community spirit, reconciliation, disability and social inclusion, and how to best support each other as community members through education and inclusion.
There were also many conversations around role modelling and leadership, and building on these for future Indigenous and non-Indigenous generations.
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About Ability Links in the Southern region, Ms Moreton said there was a great response from the local community knowing that the Ability Links program was there to support them in accessing local services and with inclusion.
"There is comfort in knowing that I can support youth groups, women's and men's groups, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, people with disability and people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds," she said. "Basically, I’m always there for a chat or to offer some friendly advice and support over a coffee."