MORE than 1200 young rugby league, football, netball and basketball players and boxers from around NSW, including Shoalhaven, have begun training their hearts out for the sixth PCYC NSW Nations of Origin tournament in July.
(min cost $8)
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Being held in the Hunter from July 16 to 19, 97 teams from 25 NSW Aboriginal nations playing under 16s boys and girls rugby league sevens, under 14s boys and girls football fives and under 14s netball ,will joined this year by 36 under 14s and 16s “3x3” basketball teams and 30 under 16s boxers.
An initiative of PCYC NSW, each team includes indigenous and non-indigenous players to promote reconciliation within communities and engage Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members in PCYC through sport.
PCYC NSW CEO Dominic Teakle said Nations of Origin was now the largest Aboriginal youth sporting event in NSW.
“It is a great example of how PCYC is empowering our young people through education, sport and reconciliation,” he said.
“Competitors are also given entry into PCYC’s flagship Blue Star citizenship and leadership programs as we encourage the next generation of community leaders.”
Commander of the NSW Police Force youth and crime prevention command superintendent David Roptell said youth case management and school liaison police, as well as officers from local police districts from around the state, would be acting as coaches, mentors and support staff.
“These officers will be working with young people through their home clubs and travelling with them to the tournament,” he said.
“It is always a great opportunity to strengthen relationships between police and young people and encourage them to be the best they can.”
The Nations of Origin has become the largest Aboriginal youth sporting event in NSW and all participating sporting teams consist of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people, with a ratio of 70:30 in the formation of the teams.
The program has four main components – reconciliation, education, cultural identity and sport – and is aimed at increasing school retention with all participants required to have 80 per cent school attendance to be eligible to participate.
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