Governor General jumps into fitness at Clayton View Primary

Former Governor General Quentin Bryce

Sir Peter Cosgrove the Governor General (GG) of Australia on his farewell visit to Western Australia wanted to visit one of Sports Challenge Australia’s (SCA) lighthouse physical and mental health programs.

With a strong bond developed with founder and CEO of (SCA) Dr Garry Tester, with the past Governor Generals of Australia: Michael Jeffery and Dame Quentin Bryce, Sir Peter has continued the tradition and the same belief by his predecessors, that fit and healthy children are the future of a better Australian Society.

Former Governor General Michael Jeffery

To this end he was excited by visiting one of the programs at Clayton View Primary School in Koongamia WA, where over the past 3 years (SCA) has partnered the school under the leadership of Principal Sharon Marchenko in building both physical health (fitness, physical activity & skills) along with mental health (self-esteem/self-concept). This effort has taken the school from the lowest 25 percentile to the 65 percentile of schools from throughout Australia that (SCA) has worked with over 27 successful years.

To acknowledge this wonderful achievement, Sir Peter spent the morning at the school participating in a tabloid activities morning of fitness, fundamental movement and sporting skills with all the Year 5 and 6 students.

Governor General Participating in the Rings of Olympiad with the Clayton View Primary Students

Wow! The Governor General of Australia had some fun, wowing the students with his excellent eye hand coordination’s in scoring a perfect score in the Rings of Olympiad (Frisbee throwing activity) and shooting some baskets as well.

After the great morning, the GG presented certificates of success to these students and spoke about the importance of fitness & sport in building better resilience and confidence at school, at home and in the community. He acknowledged the outstanding work Dr Tester and the (SCA) team have achieved at Clayton View and around Australia.

As Sir Peter made his final speech in WA before the end of his tenure as GG to the staff at Clayton View and (SCA), it was a humbling moment for all and one to be remembered forever. He spoke with such uplifting passion about his time as GG and how privileged he was to see such great work like this program instilling aspirations and genuine hope for our next generations.

Thank you Governor General for touching our lives and those of the most needy.

Governor General with CEO of SCA Dr Garry Tester and SCA Coaches

Governor General Taking Basketball Shots with the Clayton View Primary Students

GG Sir Peter Cosgrove, Principal of Clayton View Primary School Ms Sharon Marchenko and CEO of SCA Dr Garry Tester


Diabetes Campers star in Rock and Roll Point Walter Camp – 2019

Who is ready to rock and roll?

Monday the 15th of April marked the beginning of the Rockstars PCH Diabetes Camp, which will go down in rock and roll history. The Sports Challenge team, led by Jordan De Leo and assisted by the PCH and Diabetes WA staff, welcomed 34 upcoming talents to Point Walter reserve for a 4 day rock and roll themed camp.

Firstly, the rockstars were divided into 6 bands and asked to make a big decision: to choose a cool name and merchandise to carry their band to success. Together in their groups each band allowed their creative juices to flow by choosing names and designing band t-shirts. The Blue Shredders, Flying Arrows, The 5, Rocky Road, Black Camouflage and Lightning Lollipop Champs were all ready to rock and roll! Day One finished with a battle of the brains, as each team challenged for number one spot in a rockstar themed quiz night.

Campers compete in Human Ladder Race

All of the rockstars took on day two with great success, with many choosing to fly upside-down on the flying fox and getting a bulls-eye in archery. Our residential dancer (Dom) then taught another crucial element of a good rock band, teaching a dance routine to Rocky Horror Time Warp. Next in the band development was each band member painting their own guitars. Afterwards, the campers were inspired by listening to Jake Burton, a 20 year old professional motor sports driver who also has type one diabetes. Jake provided a wonderful insight into how diabetes doesn’t prevent him from following his passions as well as sharing some tips on how he manages his diabetes.

Tuesday night was the second big test for each bands. After an epic performance by a real rock band (Sleep Freak) each band whipped out their fresh new guitars and t-shirts and battled it out in an intense air guitar competition! Sleep freak, doubling as special guest judges, were truly blown away with the performances! In particular the synchronised dance moves, head banging and in true rockstar style, smashing some of their guitars!

Diabetes Minute-to-Win it Challenge

Day three started in an adventurous manner with mountain biking and abseiling. After lunch, the competitive spirit was strong with teams battling it out in the Amazing race and minute-to-win it. Teams raced around the camp in the amazing race, needing to work together to solve riddles, obstacles and various other challenges. The minute-to-win it tested the teams knowledge of diabetes as well as competing in some wacky challenges. After another scrumptious dinner, the dining area was transformed into a disco space with streamers, balloons and pumping tunes. People came dressed to impress in their best rockstar outfits and crazy hair do’s. Everyone danced to the Rocky Horror Time Warp, shimmied under the limbo stick and learnt how to do the cha cha jive.

Sleepfreak Presentation

The final part of the camp was an awards ceremony where all the campers received certificates and plenty of prizes. Many of the rockstars were sad to leave their new friends, however grateful for the memories made. It seemed they all left with new knowledge about their diabetes, and a hopeful attitude to the future.

Diabetes campers rocking out at the Disco

A special mention and thank you goes to the Perth Children’s Hospital and Diabetes WA Staff and Volunteers. Their wonderful support and enthusiasm made this camp very enjoyable, and ensured the kids had the best time. Additionally a big thank you to our dedicated team of Sports Challenge Mentors who have organised, planned and played a big role in making these great camps run so smoothly.


A Sunny Success at South Hedland Primary School

With Hillary’s the furthest North Sports Challenge’s newest mentor Nick Ambrogio had previously travelled, the trip to Port Hedland was quite a new experience for him. Accompanying him on the trip to South Hedland Primary School were experienced campaigners Dr. Garry Tester (CEO Sports Challenge Australia) and Jordan De Leo (Programs Coordinator), for what was to be another exceptional program.

SCA Coaches Jordan De Leo & Nick Ambrogio with South Hedland Primary School Students

On arrival, the boys were treated to a scenic drive by South Hedland Primary School’s principal Daryl Mansfield, who showed them all that Port Hedland had to offer, as well as taking them to a nice fishing spot to display the pleasant and tranquil lifestyle of the locals. Although it was a bite less afternoon with only a few nibbles on the rods, it was an enjoyable way to wind down and prepare themselves for an exciting few days ahead.

The first day of the program was as pleasant as the last, with Jordan and Nick going through a routine warm-up with the students, before they began their fitness testing. The focus of the testing this year was to achieve personal bests and encourage all students to improve on their scores from last year.  It became quickly evident that these students were up for the challenge, as classmates pushed each other to jump a little longer and motivated one another to run a little further. This teamwork was a breath of fresh air, and credit must go to everyone involved at South Hedland Primary School for enabling this fantastic culture to occur. It was even great to see some of the teachers getting involved with the testing themselves, after seeing how much fun their students were having.

SCA Coach Nick Ambrogio Leading the 12 minute Run

Another significant motive to this year’s trip was to impart the students with some more knowledge of diet and nutrition and educate them about the importance of healthy eating. The diet and nutrition sessions were a great success with the students partaking in a wide variety of food-based activities that aimed at identifying the differences between proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. The benefits of these sessions were evident at Recess & Lunch, as students began running up to the SCA coaches with their food and identifying to us which of the four food groups they were eating. It was fantastic to see they were learning so quickly, and a greater emphasis on their diet & nutrition will be a focus in our next trip.

To finish up on the final day, Dr. Garry Tester gave one of his very informative P.D. sessions to the teaching staff.  His linguistic delivery and charisma on the floor made for a valuable P.D. session, which presented the teachers with data comparisons from the previous years and showed all the significant improvements the school had made. These results were well received by the staff, which can only motivate and entail them to continue the great work they have been doing.

South Hedland Primary School Students Participating in the SCA Diet & Nutrition Survey

After lots of laughs, smiles and hard work from the students, there was an infectious buzz around the school that showed signs of another successful program.  A big thanks goes to Daryl Mansfield (Principal), Lee Pereira (Deputy Principal) and Julie Rose (Deputy Principal), along with the rest of the staff for another pleasant trip to the always-sunny Port Hedland. Another exceptional program done and dusted, we look forward to our next trip.


Harts Range Central Desert N.T. ROCKS

Harts Range & Alcoota School

The three musketeers, Dr. Garry Tester, Jordan De Leo (Programs Coordinator) and James Durack (Senior coach) led off a very successful Fitness and Skills program in the “Hart” of the Northern Territory. A small community approximately 200 km outside the centre of Alice Springs, Harts Range is well renowned for its breathtaking landscape and its very historic past. This history has marked the range as a popular place for tourists to go fossicking.

Jordan De Leo (SCA Programs Coordinator) with a Harts Range Student

The first day of the program began well, with Jordan & James leading the Harts Range students through a routine warm-up in preparation for the Fitness & Skill testing, whilst Dr. Garry Tester implemented a Professional Development program with the teachers of Harts Range. The warm-ups were focused around static & dynamic stretching, and highlighted the need for its implementation on a daily basis.

Once the students had warmed up, they were put through their paces in a variety of Fitness & Skill tests measuring human movement, strength, proprioception and flexibility. We were very impressed with the overall level of ability the students showed and the visible improvements they had made since our last visit. Each student did a fantastic job, giving everything a crack and pushing their peers to achieve their best.

James Durack (SCA Senior Mentor) with a Alcoota Student

After the jam-packed morning, the students engaged in a productive goal setting session where they got very creative and learnt some valuable life lessons through the aid of “The Lizard Gang” and “Frog and Toad”. These two great books helped identify the importance of goal setting and teamwork to the students. This was followed by a colorful display of lizard stencils which absolutely “rocked”!

Day 2 and 3 followed a similar structure to day 1, as the Alcoota students arrived in Harts Range and immediately got involved in the Fitness and Skill testing. Along with the Goal Setting sessions, all students participated in a successful Diet and Nutrition program run by all three Sports Challenge coaches. The importance of healthy eating and the four major food groups (Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fruits and Vegetables) were highlighted in some educational activities, as the students got hands on with some creative and colorful food plates and listened to Sam’s Sandwich book.

Garry Tester (SCA CEO) spending time with some Harts Range Students

To round out the program the students participated in a Sports Challenge Team Spirit Games, where each student was placed into a competing team and rotated through a course of sports activities. Each station was manned by a Sports Challenge representative and a couple of volunteering teachers. This was a huge success as the kids learnt the importance of teamwork, Respect and our number one rule “Having Fun”.

It was great to see the kids engaging and having a real go at all the activities we set them. A big thank you must go to all the staff and students from both Harts Range and Alcoota for making the entire program a massive success. “Harts Range you Rock”!


Monkey Bars Swing into Action at Penrhos

From the Sports Challenge Fitness and Skill testing completed at Penrhos over the past years, upper body strength has been identified as an area of development for the whole junior school.

Penrhos girls love their new Monkey Bars

With a focus upon good Physical Health for all girls as an important part of the school curriculum, Junior School Principle Trish Summers lobbied successfully the P & F to finance a set of Monkey Bars to help develop the upper body strength of the girls.

With planning and design by Sports Challenge Australia’s CEO Dr Garry Tester who is also an Adjunct Professor in Sports Science at the University of Western Australia, Penrhos now have as set of purpose built Monkey Bars which have adjustable heights for all age groups and are wide enough to have two girls swing in tandem.

The thrill and exhilaration of these bars has been an instant success with lots of ‘monkeying around’ by the Penrhos girls at recess and lunch times as they build improved upper body strength.


The Wild, Wild West Diabetes Camp – 2017!

The Sports Challenge with the Happy Campers at Ern Halliday Recreation Camp

Yee-haa!! Twenty-eight cowboys and cowgirls arrived at the Sports Challenge Australia Wild, Wild West PMH Diabetes Camp on the 27th September to get saddled up for a three-day camp at the Ern Halliday Ranch! The Sports Challenge team of mentors, led by Sherriff Jordan De Leo and Sherriff Celina Hynes, Princess Margaret Hospital and Diabetes WA staff, greeted the cowboys and cowgirls. Excited and nervous, the campers could not wait for the fun, games and activities!

Giddy up! The camp started with plenty of activities and ice-breakers as the campers got to know each other! Frisbee Golf, Bang, and the Hoop Game lifted the campers’ energy levels! Across the afternoon, the teams horsed around playing Hunt the Cowboy/Cowgirl, Desert Crossing, and Capture the Horse! The night drew near as the teams battled it out in a country showdown at the Sports Challenge Wild, Wild West Quiz night hosted by the local sheriffs in town!

Cowboys and Sports Challenge Mentors James, Josh and Sam getting ready for the Diabetes Wild, Wild West Camp!

Round em up! The next morning was kicked off with excitement, as the campers got involved in morning fitness playing Save the Tree and many other morning fitness activities! After, the campers came back to the Ranch to kick on their boots to get involved in a country dance workshop to learn a boot scooting routine for the night’s disco!

Wednesday afternoon galloped in quickly as the campers got involved in a ‘Minute to Win It’. This game involved a series of challenges and Diabetes trivia, which each group had to complete within a minute! Teams were quick out of the gates, however it was Team Two that claimed victory from the showdown!

Minute to Win It Contestants!

Busting a move, the campers danced their way into the night at the disco! Boot scooting, the limbo, and dance-offs were highlights throughout the disco. All campers had a great time with many prize give-aways for the talented campers!

Saddling up, after an amazing three days, the camp came to an end with many campers making new friendships, memories to last a lifetime, and learning a lot about Diabetes! Presentations, awards and good-byes were made in the last part of the camp as the campers went home with certificates, posters and many prizes.

Jordan (SCA Programs Coordinator) and Celina (SCA Coordinator) presenting Jarnia Davies (Diabetes WA Community Ed. Coordinator) with a Certificate of Appreciation.

A big special mention and thank you goes to the Princess Margaret Hospital and Diabetes WA Staff and Volunteers. Their wonderful support and enthusiasm makes these camps so enjoyable, and ensures that the kids have the best time. Additionally a big thank you to our dedicated team of Sports Challenge Mentors who have organised, planned and played a big role in making these great camps run so smoothly. We are incredibly lucky to work with a team that is cohesive, passionate and innovative!

The strong partnership between Sports Challenge Australia, Princess Margaret Hospital and Diabetes WA, ensured the team at Sports Challenge coordinated one of the best Diabetes Camp to date for the 9-10yrs age group. Congratulations to everyone involved!