Youth score on Rebound
A NEW youth program, which uses basketball to put young people in touch with the services that can help them, will tip off in Grafton next month.
The volunteer organisation, Rebound 2460, is made up mainly of the people who have organised the Midnight Basketball competitions in the city since 2011.
Rebound 2460 chair Gary Martin said the committee decided it needed more local services for the youth involved and to create a local focus.
"Midnight Basketball was great for the kids and did a great job providing a safe activity which encouraged them to develop a whole range of skills,” he said.
"But there are also a whole range of youth services out there which can target specific issues and we see this program as a chance to put kids in touch with those services.”
He said youth service providers in Grafton, ETC Employment, Headspace, New School of Arts, Gurehlgam Corporation, PCYC and Social Futures had agreed to back the project under the auspices of the Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council.
"We've taken what we were doing with Midnight Basketball and made it better,” MrMartin said.
"Each of the organisations will provide two coaches for each team, which will give the kids contacts with the services they provide.”
Mr Martin said the free program would continue to provide each child with meals of salad rolls, fruit and water as well as free transport to and from the venue.
He said a Midnight Basketball Australia ruling, which caused the cancellation of a program last year because of a shortfall in volunteers, had shaken local organisers.
"All we're worried about is the kids,” he said. "We were ready to go last year, we had the program together, we were short a few volunteers, but they told us we couldn't run it, so we closed it down.”
Mr Martin was also concerned the Midnight Basketball Australia website showed none of its locations around Australia was advertising tournaments.
Its CEO, Tess White, said this was a result of a series of trials of organisational changes held around the country.
"We weren't comfortable subjecting these volunteer organisations to public scrutiny while holding trials,” she said.
Ms White said she was sorry this had not been better communicated to the Grafton organisation.
The next tournament, for youth aged between 12 and 18, begins at the Grafton Sports Centre on May10 from 7pm. Registration forms are available from Camellia Cottage, 207Takeaway, Headspace, Gurehlgam, New School of Arts, Social Futures ETC and PCYC. More details on Facebook at Rebound 2460.