On Sunday 7 December, the community came together to celebrate the inaugural All Kids Can Play day held at Livvi’s Place, Timbrell Park, Five Dock. The atmosphere was buzzing with children, families and clubs embracing the vision of All Kids Can Play, the inclusion of ALL children in mainstream sports.
All Kids Can Play is a partnership between Break Thru and Touched By Olivia and brings together families, clubs, schools and the sporting community to achieve this vision.
Sports clubs throughout Sydney attended on the day, showcasing their sport through interactive activities and coaching clinics for family fun. Families were able to look at how clubs include all children in their teams and some even registered with a club on the day.
Including children with disability in mainstream sport can prove challenging for many parents. Signing up for a club is simple for most families, but is not something parents of children with disability can take for granted.
“ALL kids have the same goals and aspirations, that’s just to be included in everything, from sport, to community, to education” says Brendon Coombes, father of a child with disabilities at the event. The benefits they receive from sports are no different for children with disability including a sense of achievement, self esteem and self confidence, learning new skills and providing opportunities to make new friends.
These benefits can also have a longer term impact. Craig Laundy, Federal Liberal MP explains “Early involvement of children with their peers with disabilities is a great way to overcome any misconceptions further down the track”, opening the door for true community inclusion.
Sports clubs across NSW have mobilized to become champions of All Kids Can Play and promote the great benefits of sport. On All Kids Can Play Day a diverse range of sports were involved, including netball, soccer, rugby union, rugby league and cricket. Children had a fabulous time trying out the different sport activities. A little girl, who had never played netball before, shot 5 netball hoops on the day.
Some of the clubs were a bit hesitant at first with participating in All Kids Can Play day. They were not sure they had any inclusive techniques to promote. They soon realized it’s just about starting somewhere, to “just do it”. There are lots of clubs already doing a great job including all kids in their sport and they are happy to share. There is a lot of support out there and All Kids Can Play will bring the community together to promote this.
Jay Laga’aia provided lots of family entertainment on the day with lots of familiar songs, while kids tried out different sports activities like sticky wicket, throwing a hoop, watching coaching master classes or enjoying the free sausage sizzle. Of course, the kids also had lots of fun in the Livvi’s place inclusive playground adjacent to the event. Michael Brown, CEO, Asian Cup 2015, Hon. Craig Laundy, Federal Liberal MP, the local Mayor of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas and John Faker, Mayor or Burwood and chair of Local Government Sports Committee also attended on the day to support All Kids Can Play.
The best thing of all was that all kids from lots of families were there together, playing side by side completely accepting of each other and enjoying the event together.
SBS covered the event at: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/12/07/extending-benefits-team-sports-children-disabilities
Sticky Wicket in action
Enjoying a BBQ on the day