This article originally appeared on athletics.org.au – home of Athletics Australia: http://athletics.com.au/News/celebrating-reconciliation-week-27-may-to-3-june
National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements.
Initiatives have been taking place throughout the country and Athletics Australia has joined with communities across Australia to celebrate. The more we learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories and share that knowledge the more we grow as a nation.
The fifth edition of the Cherbourg Fun Run offered distances of three, seven and 10-kilometres. The Fun Run provides an opportunity for a historically significant Aboriginal community, located 250km north-west of Brisbane, to involve local residents in a family-friendly activity that promotes physical activity participation, whilst raising funds for the Cherbourg ‘Ration Shed’.
The 2018 edition of the event saw a record number of competitors, as over 400 athletes enjoyed the run from the Murgon Showgrounds to Cherbourg. Australian representatives Beki Smith and Robbie Crowther were on hand to talk athletics with crowds of excited athletes of all ages.
Cherbourg’s Fun Run is held on traditional Wakka Wakka land, an area home to approximately 2000 aboriginal residents, with proceeds from the fun run utilised to maintain the Ration Shed, an aboriginal museum and cultural education centre.
In another state, Victoria’s Worawa Aboriginal College played host to a host of sporting activities as four primary schools and 14 high schools travelled to the Worawa Healesville campus to take part in athletic activities led by Athletics Australia’s Sporting Schools Coordinator Tait Forster, National Coaching Development Manager Jill Taylor, Commonwealth Games representative Celeste Mucci and Athletics Australia coach Panayiota Carabourniotis.
Worawa Aboriginal College students are provided with a holistic education, offering Aboriginal girls a culturally relevant curriculum, engaging boarding students from across Australia in daily activities designed to foster an understanding of Aboriginal values and history.
A broad focus was encouraged on the day, as teachers and students learnt about the benefits of regular physical exercise, combined with the mental and social benefits linked with enjoyable group exercise.
Forster finished the day with positive feedback from many involved parties.
“Yesterday was a great day, despite the wet weather it was great to see so many kids come together from different schools and backgrounds. It really shows the power sport has in bringing people together and most importantly the enjoyment it gives people particularly young children.”
Mucci proved to be popular with the young athletes taking part in running, jumping and throwing activities, as Foster described the encouraging effect an elite athlete can have on a group of enthusiastic youngsters, “The kids really got a kick out of chatting to Celeste Mucci which hopefully help inspired them to become involved in the sport of Athletics.”
Athletics Australia supports Reconciliation Week by through providing athletic opportunities for athletes of all backgrounds, fostering positive physical and mental health outcomes across a variety of Australian communities.