Shooting Stars future leaders in Years six and seven, across the Program’s eight sites have just returned from a week-long pilgrimage in Western Australia’s Kimberley.
Shooting Stars is an initiative of Netball WA and Glass Jar Australia and uses netball and other engagement strategies as the vehicle to encourage greater engagement and attendance at school of young Aboriginal girls living in WA’s remote communities and regional towns.
The trip was a reward for the young leaders to further embrace their culture and find new pathways in becoming Aboriginal leaders.
For one of the participants Dakoda Bolton-Black it meant a 2300 kilometre journey from her home of Narrogin, meeting a range of new faces, who soon became ‘sisters’.
“This is my first excursion and quite far away from my home, it’s a really good opportunity,” she said.
“Having all the Shooting Stars sisters along with us helps us to feel a bit more comfortable.”
“I have built some wonderful relationships with these girls and the Coordinators.”
Bolton-Black spent the week with West Coast Fever Captain and Shooting Stars Ambassador Courtney Bruce, who offered the young leader some essential advice.
“Courtney taught us to have a voice in anything we say and to speak louder.”
The encouragement to ensure her voice is heard will play a vital role in her recent appointment to Narrogin Senior High Schools’ Student Council.
Part of the leadership camp gave Shooting Stars Kimberly Regional Manager Helen Ockerby the chance for the participants to visit her country.
“A lot of our girls come from the desert regions and they don’t often get to see the salt water,” Ockerby said.
“It’s important to me to showcase my culture to keep it alive and if I can do that with other kids at least they’re walking away with other experiences, but also an awareness of the different cultures of Australia.”
The chance to embrace a new culture was one of the highlights of the trip for Bolton-Black.
“It’s very different, you never really go over to someone else’s country so having that opportunity to do that is such a great chance to open up your eyes.”
An initiative of Netball WA and Glass Jar Australia, Shooting Stars is an educational program that uses netball and other tools as vehicles to achieve its primary vision of increasing school attendance rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) girls living in WA’s remote communities and regional towns to 80-90%.
The program now engages more than 350 students across eight delivery sites, with an average attendance improvement of 18% across the board, while 60% of participants maintain an average attendance rate of 80% or above. Furthermore, the Program is a key driver in creating equality for female leaders and generational change, with 83% of its staff and 50% of its Board identifying as Indigenous.
Shooting Stars enjoys the backing of the governing body for netball in Netball WA, and with that support comes nearly 100 years of professional expertise in community programs and development. To find out more about the program, including information about making philanthropic donations, visit www.shootingstars.com.au.