Acknowledging the sports responsibility and obligation for action towards reconciliation, Tennis West has committed to the development of the sports Reflective Reconciliation Action Plan; in addition to partnering with Murlpirrmarra Connection who will act as the sport’s indigenous delivery partner for the provision of tennis opportunities across metropolitan, regional and remote Western Australia.
Committed to developing the organisation’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), Tennis West aims to better understand the considerations of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Tennis West President Jan Truscott says the Board have been working towards ensuring the sport is accessible and inclusive of all West Australians and that the recent partnership with Murlpirrmarra Connection and development of the RAP plan are necessary steps in the right direction.
“Acknowledging the importance of how we can better understand the best path forward in working more effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Board have been working towards developing a Reflective Reconciliation Action Plan for some time now,”
“It’s a necessary step in the right direction and will help ensure we act as an informed, educated and aware organisation responsible for the delivery of tennis to all West Australians,”
“Partnering with Murlpirrmarra Connection is a vital piece in our path forward and we look to be guided by the groups direction as to how best Tennis West works to engage indigenous communities in the sport of tennis,” said Truscott.
Acknowledging this year’s ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ NAIDOC Week celebrations, Tennis West Board Members and employees will undertake preliminary Cultural Awareness Training throughout the week. Further Cultural Awareness training is planned for the beginning of 2021.
The Reflective Reconciliation Action Plan will consequentially guide the development of the sport’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy; with the Murlpirrmarra Connection partnership with Tennis West providing additional support for Sun City Tennis Academy/Remote Tennis Services Australia – Indigenous Tennis and Learning Program to continue the delivery of programs tailored to Indigenous communities.
Murlpirrmarra Connection CEO Darren Patten says he looks forward to the group’s partnership with Tennis West and the additional support it will bring to the Indigenous Tennis and Learning Program.
“Murlpirrmarra Connection’s Indigenous Tennis and Learning program will not only expose tennis and all it has to offer to remote, regional and metropolitan based aboriginal children but will enhance the educational options and outcomes of the talented young men and women we support,” said Patten.
Aligned to deliver tennis to as many young players as possible, the partnership will pave the way for increased remote tennis lessons similar to the Wananami Remote Community School visit in the community of Kupungarri/Mount Barnett along the Gibb River Road. Facilitated by Jarron Kretschmann of Sun City Tennis Academy/Remote Tennis Services Australia, the school’s 40 students took part in what was the school’s first ever structured tennis lesson.
Kretschmann who has been delivering tennis in remote locations across WA for a number of years, says the sport is always well received by students, many of whom have never had the opportunity to pick up a racquet before.
“Most of the children we work with have never seen a tennis racquet before, let alone had the opportunity to hit with one. We teach them the basics and give them their very first experience of the sport,”
“Their faces say it all, they love the experience and the opportunity to try something completely new. The best part though remains in seeing the kids continue to play after we’ve finished our formal delivery,”
“The kids in Wananami were still playing hours after we’d finished irrespective of the late afternoon heat which they’d been out playing in all afternoon,”
“I was fortunate to grow up being taken to tennis lessons, not all kids have the same opportunities so I’m passionate about taking tennis to the people in spite of their remote locations and previous exposure to the sport,”
“If I can give even just one remote kid skills that they can maybe one day take to the city, then it’s all been worth it and a great success,” said Kretschmann.
Murlpirrmarra Connection is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to provide educational opportunities for Aboriginal youth in the remote regions throughout Western Australia.
Programs delivered are designed to support Aboriginal students throughout the secondary school years with programs culturally appropriate and aimed at ensuring students are prepared for the transition beyond school, into tertiary studies, training and employment.
For more information on Murlpirrmarra Connection, please head to: www.murlpirrmarra.com.au/