As Robert Kennedy, the former United States Attorney General, so famously said “we live in interesting times.  They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.”  The actions of the Year 7 students of Hampton Senior High School Perth are proving this point, with their personal and academic goals after the lock down due to COVID-19 in February 2020.

Sports Challenge (SCA) was enlisted by the school to complete an induction and team building day for all Year 7 students (11 and 12 years old) at the start of the year with a myriad of 26 SCA mentors from Olympians, NBL basketballers, State League Soccer Players, Urban Dance and Trapeze experts, all with a passion to assist students on life’s uncertain journey.

Basketball Legend Mike Ellis & Yr 7 discuss goals

No one envisaged how important the establishment of these goals were, until the pandemic hit and students were isolated at home, away from their peers and their school.  With a set of skills developed with SCA, many of these students did not loose their focus on what they could achieve in such extraordinary times.

Supported by a ‘world first’ initiative, SCA has developed an innovative and novel link for each student to their SCA mentor on our website called E-PALS.  This has allowed student to be linked to an important other (their SCA mentor) 24 x 7 for ongoing support and communication during these uncertain times.

When the SCA mentors returned this term to check on how the student’s goals were progressing, the response was outstanding.  Many of the students had already achieved both their goals and many more were following the SCA steps to achieving them before the end of the year.

Olympic Kayak Finalist Jesse Phillips with his group

As former NBL Captain/Coach of the Perth Wildcats, Mike Ellis, and Olympic Kayak London Games finalist, Jesse Phillips, explained: “Wow we were blown away by how responsive the students had been during the lockdown.  Students told us it gave them the necessary quiet time to really think about having a positive aspirational goal, with support from their SCA mentor to achieve it.”

This was also supported by John O’Connell our SCA Soccer Legend, a past player and coach, when

Soccer Legend John O'Connell & Danika Keegan, Hampton SHS, with the "Soccer World Cup"

he said: “ I brought along a replica of the Soccer World Cup to show the students how anything is achievable with the right attitude, a plan and most importantly people to support them.  With the women’s World Cup coming up in Australia some of these girls could hold this trophy a loft and I love ‘being part of their journey’.

As the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) said: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” it seems to the SCA mentors that the Yr 7 students of Hampton SHS have a chance to set a new direction and have shown us they can achieve whatever it is they choose to do?  The journey continues!


Cosmo Newberry Remote School benefits from Gruyere Goldmine in 2019

Sports Challenge Australia (SCA) once again thrives on a challenge to deliver both physical and mental health programs to the most isolated communities in Australia.

Cosmo Newberry Remote School lies some 1,306 Km East of Perth and about 100 Km from the town of Laverton.

Cosmo Newberry located some 1,306Km East from Perth, WA and about 100Km from the town of Laverton.

Bec Alston, the Community Superintendent of Gruyere Gold Mine, contacted SCA’s CEO Dr Garry Tester and asked him to come to Cosmo Newberry to meet the locals and to build a partnership with the Yilka community (Cosmo Newberry)and Gruyere Mine to provide programs to the local school to build fitness, skills and the Physical activity of the students, along with building resilience, self-esteem and preparation-for-life skills.

SCA mentors Jordan De Leo, Emily Mostyn-Brown and Josh Chivell out side the Gruyere mine site.

Once a plan was built together with the school and Gruyere, SCA dispatched a leading team of  mentors (Jordan De Leo, Emily Mostyn-Brown and Josh Chivell) to deliver a series of one week programs to cover all year levels attending the school.

The programs delivered in Q3 and Q4 of 2019, have been a huge success for all involved and will continue in 2020.

Cosmo Newberry Remote School

As Kevin Smith the school principal explained, “We are thrilled with the outstanding engagement delivered by SCA, the objective data provided and the wonderful skill development for all children.”

Gruyere Mine has invested in providing a sustainable program for the community, to demonstrate their commitment as a caring corporate citizen in providing the best possible programs and resources to Cosmo Newberry and the Yilka people, to build a positive future for all.

The Journey begins!!


Woodroffe Primary School, Darwin leads the way in P.D.

With the pressure ever mounting on teaching staff to deliver academic outcomes through an ever changing curriculum onslaught from both State and Federal Governance’s, teacher are burning out.

Woodroffe Primary School Principal Miranda Watt is very aware that Wellness is becoming an important part of

Amazing sun rising, captured by ACC Director Jennifer Clay on her way to Woodroffe Program, Darwin.

Professional Development (PD) and there is a desperate need for personal development of her staff to allow the best possible outcomes for the children of Woodroffe.

Principal Miranda Watt addressing Woodroffe PS staff

To this end, she contacted Sports Challenge Australia’s CEO Dr Garry Tester who had worked successfully with her in the remote N.T. community of Maningrida and she was keen to do the same here in Darwin.

A one-day program was developed profiling staff in Creativity and Innovation (CI) skills, applying these skills to experiential learning modules of communication skills, team work, leadership and collegiate development which all staff were highly motivated by the Australian Corporate Challenge (ACC – australiancorporatechallenge.com.au) team, the corporate training arm of Sports Challenge Australia.

Of great interest to the staff was the Mood & Stress Questionnaire to measure staff’s current levels with practical solutions to enhancing overall wellness and personal health.

This was further extended through Mindfulness strategies and exercises along with the introduction of Hibiscus Tea as a wonderful remedy for de-stressing.

Woodroffe PS staff doing the "Pipeline" team challenge

The objective and narrative feedback reinforced the investment Miranda had envisaged, as a great way to set the tone for the new Term and the rest of the year with a staff re-energised with a raft of strategies.  As she explained, “This will build staff resilience and this can only help to rejuvenate the educational outcomes of our school”.


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.