About 120 School of the Air students descended on Mount Isa for a full week of diverse sports and activities through Sport for Bush Kids.
The local initiative run by Mount Isa School of the Air and Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA), allows students to have a better educational experience with other students who are geographically isolated throughout their school year.
The program is run throughout the last week of the school year, and brings students together for a week of socialising and sporting activities.
Venue and Coach Coordinator, Wendy Wockner, said the children were exposed to four full days of sport.
“We rotate the sports around every few years. This year we had swimming, tennis, touch football, rugby union, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, dance and sports awareness program for the younger kids,” Wockner said.
“It provides students with coaching opportunities they wouldn’t have experienced without this program.
Mostly team sports, it allowed children to get a taste of all the sports they could encounter when they go away for boarding school.Wendy Wockner
“Mostly a combination of team sports, the program also allows children to get a taste of all the sports they could encounter when they go away for boarding school.”
Wockner said the event was extremely important for the children’s social wellbeing and preparation for boarding school.
“The children meet people their own age and other ages and they all look after each other,” she said.
“They are also exposed to a variety of different sports and makes the children confident that they can go away to boarding school knowing they have already participated in those sports.”
Children had the freedom to chose which sport they wished to participate in, with age groups ranging from year seven to toddlers.
Participants and their families travelled from all over the Mount Isa School of the Air catchment including, further north than Normanton, south to Bedourie and furthest west to the Western Australian border.
Wockner said although this year was all School of the Air students, the program had allowed other geographically isolated schools to participate in previous years, like when the Gregory had its own school.
Sport for Bush Kids initially started 18 years ago as a learn to swim program for isolated children, but had since evolved into a 12 sport program from 7am to 5pm.
The program is made possible each year by the support of businesses and families from across North West Queensland.