The Activities Program promotes school achievement and attendance, healthy living and sociable behaviour by encouraging children to participate in sport and recreational activities.
The two main components of the Activities Program are after-school sport and school-based sporting tournaments.
The After-School Netball program is delivered by CFF community staff and provides netball activities, training and match-play to Palm Island students four nights a week during the school term. The After-School Netball caters for a wide-range of ages from lower-primary through to upper-secondary students of both genders. It is a fun and safe environment for the students to learn and improve their netball skills.
After-School Rugby League
In the same format as the After-School Netball, the After-School Rugby League is delivered by CFF community staff and provides rugby league practise, games and matches to Palm Island student’s after-school. The After-School Rugby League tends to cater predominantly to males and attracts students typically between Yr. 4 -8 although other students are also involved. Following this many students link up with local rugby league teams, meaning there is less need for the activities than with the netball where there is less regular competition.
Previously on Palm Island we have partnered with AFL Queensland to deliver AFL activities to the Palm Island students. This typically involved Auskick clinics for primary students, training and matches for secondary students and training for staff around coaching and umpiring. In 2014, this has been put on hold to focus on rugby and netball, which are the predominant sports on Palm Island. If the Activities Program is implemented in the Northern Territory communities it is envisaged that AFL will take the place of Rugby League in the After-School sports program.
Another component on the CFF Activities program is funding teams from our partner schools to compete in other competitions. The students selected for these teams must meet behaviour and attendance standards, meaning they are used as a further reward for the students for are trying their best in school. These competitions include visits to other schools for netball and rugby league tournaments, entering teams in the Townsville McDonalds Netball Cup and the Community Netball Cup held on Palm Island between the two local schools. These competitions give the students a chance to practise the skills they have been learning and improving through the after-school sport and are a further opportunity for the schools to reinforce the importance of behaviour and attendance.
CFF Netball Challenge
The CFF Netball Challenge is a unique event in that we bring students from mainland schools over to Palm Island to compete in a netball competition and to learn about and build goodwill between the students of the various schools. The event is fully funded by the Cathy Freeman Foundation and is very well supported by the local community who provide volunteers and come along to support the students in the competition.
"The children have embraced the netball competition; they run to the court to get there on time. They all love the competition and can't wait for the weekly games." Daphne, Cathy Freeman Foundation Programs Coordinator.
- In 2014 there were a total of 1478 participations in the Activities Program.
- In 2014 program participation rates increased by 31% (based on total participations).
- The number of students involved in the inter-school CFF Netball Challenge increased by 54% in 2014.
The Activities Program exists to provide the youth of Palm Island with regular structured sporting and recreational activities and to encourage school attendance. Outside of the school environment these activities are limited.
The program also involves the broader community, encouraging their participation and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Activities such as the Netball Challenge help to develop links between mainland Australia and Palm Island and benefit school students by broadening their friendship networks and life experiences.
In addition, there are also obvious health and social benefits to participating in activities that require fitness, teamwork and discipline.