On the Netball NSW calendar there are no bigger events than the State Age and State Championships. Both tournaments run over three days with Associations travelling from all across New South Wales to participate in an action-packed long weekend of netball.
In 2013, 304 teams representing 91 Associations contested the State Age Championships held at three venues, while 76 Associations were represented by 133 teams at the State Championships played at two venues.
One of the tournament’s hosts last year was Campbelltown Netball Association, who will not only host two divisions of the State Age Championships in 2014, but another two divisions for State Championships as well.
Led by President Shirley Connolly, Campbelltown Executive and their group of dedicated volunteers have been in planning mode for months ahead of hosting the events.
“To start out at the beginning I write out an Action Plan that I put out to my Executive, giving them, if they’re available, a job. Some of these include booking the band, arranging flag bearers, and liaising with our local council who have always been great supporters of netball in our community,” Connolly said.
“But there are also the other little odd jobs and tasks that have to be done – ordering port-a-loos, organising for extra rubbish pick-up from local council … I’ve also enquired if the SES can help as Parking Assistants this year.”
Connolly tried last year to get the assistance of the SES, however many may remember extreme weather conditions – particularly rain – which meant those volunteers were needed to tend to homes and flooded areas of the State.
Instead, the Dads of the Campbelltown representative teams put up their hand and took shifts as Parking Assistants across the weekend. Connolly estimates as many as 40 to 50 people are directly involved in running the event alongside Netball NSW, meaning a lot of man power that devote their long weekend to the sport.
“Rep managers, rep coaches, primary carers, Executive members – it’s not just Campbelltown that has volunteers working around the clock, as visiting teams also bring along a troupe. All these people who do it without pay, and have their own responsibilities at home whether it be family, work, or being involved with their local netball club,” Connolly said.
Connolly herself coaches one of her local netball club teams every year, saying she felt it was “really important to be seen and involved at Club level as well as at the Association”.
With five daughters it seemed inevitable for Connolly to be a netball mum, who said it only took her eldest wanting to play for the other four to want to try their hand at the sport too.
“I thought you can’t have five children down there every week and not be involved, so that’s where it all started and I’ve been involved with Campbelltown netball ever since.”
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