Sports Challenge is a ‘world first experiential mentoring program‘ using the ‘medium’ of sports and problem solving activities to encourage children and adolescents to use more of their full potential in all areas of their lives including positive involvement with their peers, family, school and community.
The program conceived in 1990 by its C.E.O Dr Garry Tester, was designed to improve self-esteem and develop preparation-for-life skills by focusing upon the notion of Challenge, and it has been recognised as a ‘benchmark‘ program in the delivery of life skills. The concept of Sports Challenge as a primary prevention program for children and adolescents who are not reaching their full potential has been used successfully in Australia and Internationally since 1992, Sports Challenge involves the participation of both selected and whole school populations as well as community groups and detention centres.
The children and adolescents are selected from a standardised questionnaire completed by the whole population of a school or institution. This questionnaire evaluates four main areas: school/institution and ability to achieve; peer interaction and acceptability; confidence in self/physical appearance; and family interaction and acceptability. This pre and post testing allows the impact of the Sports Challenge program to be objectively measured and delivers an accurate profile to schools and institutions of their total population in the area of Pastoral Care.
Groups of selected children/adolescents and whole classes receive instruction from trained high profile athletes/mentors. The various programs on offer range from a 10 week, 2 x 60 minute sessions per week for selected children and adolescents, to whole class programs ranging between one week and six weeks duration.
The mentors, both male and female, run indoor and outdoor sessions designed to improve preparation-for-life skills which include: positive communication, conflict and anger resolution, reasoned risk taking, realistic goal setting, stress management, problem solving, time management, promoting school, family, community belonging and developing a sense of basic trust.
The success of the Sports Challenge program has been outstanding, measured both objectively and anecdotally. With a team of caring and committed professionals, supported by a valued group of sponsors, Sports Challenge has been able to empower young people with realistic healthy life skills and positive self-esteem changes over time.