For the 8th year, Nepean Community and Neighbourhood Services (NCNS) will host the NAIDOC Cup for over 1,000 primary school children at Hunter Fields in Emu Plains on Friday, 22 June 2018 from 10.00am to 3.00pm.
The annual NAIDOC Cup event brings together over 1,000 primary school students from more than 20 schools in the Nepean region. 70% of the participants are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
Back in 2010, Luke Roseworne attended the first NAIDOC Cup when he was just 11 years old. “It set me on my path. It was a great experience for kids who sometimes get overlooked,” says Luke. “The NAIDOC Cup gives kids an opportunity to express themselves on Darug lands and the whole community gets right behind it.”
Luke is now a full-time Program Manager with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) at Western Sydney University at Kingswood where he mentors Indigenous young people to cross the bridge from high school to university. Luke remains involved with NAIDOC Cup and served as a referee for last year’s games. “A lot of people in our community make this event happen and so do the local primary schools, like Braddock and Kingswood. People have been involved in it for years.”
“If it wasn’t for the women in the community, this event would have never happened,” Luke said. “The women made sure all the young Indigenous kid’s stories could be heard and expressed through sport.” Luke has also been inspired by Nelson Mandela who said:
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
Hunter Fields bustles with activity at the NAIDOC Cup. The school children vie for the Oz-Tag and netball shields in the junior and senior competitions when they are not playing, eating and celebrating and affirming culture and identity. The event is attended and opened by Aboriginal elders and smoking ceremony is held before the sports competitions beginning at 10.30am.
This year’s NAIDOC Cup coincides with NCNS’s 20th year of Aboriginal Service Delivery in the Penrith area. NCNS is a bicultural organisation with strong Aboriginal representation and staffing at all levels of the organisation. NCNS’s provides a range of services, including child and family health, mental health, youth services, health and community services. The organisation is well-known and respected for its innovative, best practice approach.
For more information about the NAIDOC Cup or NCNS services, contact Trudy Grant on mobile 0407 782 766.