29 June 2022 | Tennis West

On Tuesday, 28 June Tennis West was pleased to host an insightful workshop and panel discussion on governance and engagement – made possible through funding from the Youth Week Grant from Department of Communities. The purpose of the workshop aimed to engage WA’s tennis clubs’ young members and players to complement the already existing skillset on club committees. Almost 60 committee members from clubs across WA attended and we were delighted to welcome several energetic young people, who are looking to make a positive difference in their community.

The workshop provided tools on how best to engage tennis communities, particularly young adults, to strengthen committees, projects and capacities. The evening included a panel of tennis club local legends and a discussion facilitation by Emma Cavanagh. Emma has been a committee member of charity Leading Youth Forward – a Perth-based charity offering mentorships for at-risk Perth teenagers – since 2017 and is on the board of The Boxing Project; an organisation that aims to empower females to be confident leaders through a range of boxing and physical activity programs. She brought a wealth of insight and knowledge on the governance of organisations and community engagement.

The panel also included: Zara Cavalot (Tennis West Club Development Officer – Metro North; Director at Swim for Refugees and Social Media Coordinator at University Football Club), Ian Ketteringham (Tennis Director at The Tennis Pro), Kirsty Eaton (Club Manager at Reabold Tennis Club) and Kristy Ireland (Social Events and Social Media at Higgins Park Tennis Club). The panel members shared their personal experiences from their diverse roles and their success stories on being a young person stepping up, or how they empowered a young person to take on their own initiatives. They also answered a range of thought-provoking questions from the guests about overcoming obstacles and launching new initiatives.

Tennis West Club Development Officer – Metro North Zara Cavalot said clubs shouldn’t underestimate the impact young people can have on tennis clubs and committees.

“Tennis clubs were identifying that one of their greatest challenges was engaging youth, both on the court and in the committees of their tennis clubs and we felt we needed to address this issue,” said Zara.

“There is so much to learn from young people and such a wealth of knowledge that already exists on committees so there’s an opportunity for both parties to tap in to.”

“It’s also vital for governance and the sustainability of a club to have a diverse committee,” Zara added.

The workshop served as an opportunity to explore the full potential of tennis club communities and committees and learn about the importance of doing so. Participants explored a range of topics from utilising time and energy to bring others along, and looking at new approaches to retaining volunteers such as microvolunteering, digital engagement and inclusion, and the importance of mentoring. To help clubs face one of their biggest challenges – attracting youth – the panel discussed ways in which clubs can identify what younger people seek in their lives such as representation, growth opportunities, social experiences, real and valued roles, and the desire to feel empowered and drive positive social change.

“Last night we learnt about the facts surrounding the importance of engaging youth for volunteering and committee capacities, and some starting examples on how to do so,” said Zara.

“There was such a fantastic buzz in the room from the clubs and I hope they feel as inspired as I do to take on the challenge, and the team at Tennis West looks forward to supporting our local clubs to do so.”