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!


North Vista Primary School, Singapore, Goes For Gold!

North Vista PS Student Performing Ed Gym - Tuck Roll

Under the wonderful leadership of North Vista Primary School’s Principal, Mrs Dhillon Singh, the school has embarked upon having ‘world first’ fitness and skill measures starting with all P3 students. Using Dr. Garry Tester’s ‘world first’ measures of physical health, developed at the University of Western Australia, the school has successfully partnered with Sports Challenge Australia to achieve some fantastic fitness and skill outcomes.

Garry and his qualified team of Sports Challenge Australia mentors; Jordan De Leo, Celina Hynes, Erin Arrow, and Director Jennifer Clay, assessed the students’ fitness and skill levels in a week-long program. Over two-hundred and forty children aged 8 years were tested and put through their paces, measuring fitness levels, fundamental movement skills, ball skills, and educational gymnastic skills.

Happy Faces of North Vista PS Students after successfully completing testing

As Head of Department (H.O.D.) of Physical Education (P.E.) Mr Alvin Lee explained:

“We want to have the best data available so we can use the data to focus our PE program to have the best outcomes for our students and identify students for our various C.C.A. Sports. Sports Challenge Australia with a database of 40,000 students from Australia and Singapore will give us meaningful data.”

Each student will receive their Parent Report showing their own scores the seven item fitness tests, and the ten item skill tests. Additionally they will receive their comparison scores of the school average for males and females along with a National average to aspire for and in many cases above the National average.

SCA Mentors with North Vista PS Principal Mrs Dhillon Singh

Wow and did the students have some fun with the Sports Challenge mentors collecting the data. As SCA mentor, Celina Hynes said:

“It is fantastic to see how well the students responded to physical activity; they tried hard, had a lot of fun, and were a delight to teach! You only need to look at their smiling faces.”

Now the journey for North Vista Primary School has begun, and the challenges will continue to build for fitness and skill levels of these students. Moreover, as the Students move through the primary years improved physical health can only be of benefit.


Things Were Heating Up in Harts Range! – Remote N.T.

Harts Range School, Alcoota School and Bonya School

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

That time of year had arrived again, as Dr Garry Tester and his team; Jordan De Leo & James Durack, packed their bags and embarked on a four-day trip to the Northern Territory. Our destination this time was Harts Range School, a 2-hour drive North-east of Alice Springs, where an activity-filled three-day program awaited them.

The program commenced on Monday morning, with neighbouring schools Alcoota and Bonya driving up for the day to partake in some of Sports Challenge’s fun-filled activities. Despite the warm 29 degrees weather, the kids were still eager and excited to start the fitness testing. The students were put to the test in seven different tasks, displaying a wide variety of ability with a core focus on personal bests.

After the testing was complete, both Alcoota and Bonya students partook in a Goal-Setting session led by Jordan and James. The students were shown motivating videos on Cyril Rioli’s life journey, before completing a goal-setting worksheet and getting a chance to make their own cut-out figures. The target of the session was to help the students identify their dream, the steps which need to be implemented to achieve their aspirations and the people who can help them get there. It was a very beneficial lesson, with all students coming away with something to strive towards. The day concluded with some enjoyable team-based games, where it was great to see all the schools getting along, before Alcoota and Bonya schools departed back to their community. We would like to thank Craig Watkins and Solina Delacruz for their hard work in organising and bringing the kids up for the day.

Tuesday morning commenced with a warm-up and some daily PE led by Garry, Jordan and James. A wide array of stretches and some dancing made for a good start to the morning. A special mention must go to Eve Sargent for discovering these engaging and interactive dance videos, as they were a huge success throughout the program. It was then time for the team to administer the skill testing, which aimed at identifying the students’ abilities and analysing their ball skills and Ed gym capabilities. Overall, we were very impressed with their gymnastic skills and this should be reflected in their results. The skill testing concluded and the students moved straight into some fun fitness games run by Senior Mentor James. A variation of flinch ball, fruit salad and poison ball had the kids exhausted and ready for lunch.

James Durack (SCA Senior Mentor) and Garry Tester (SCA CEO) at Harts Range School leading the Diet & Nutrition Program

After lunch, the students partook in an educational Diet and Nutrition session run by the SCA crew. The session started off with listening to Sam’s Sandwich book, before watching a short video and colouring in some fun worksheets. Ms Caroline Brennan-Tucker then topped off the session by providing the students with a lovely platter of fresh fruit to taste.  Overall, the kids had a blast learning about healthy eating and identifying a healthier lifestyle. Once school had finished, Garry treated the boys to a drive to a former Mica mining site some 20kms from the community. It was highly informative and even gave the boys a chance to hike some of the spectacular cliffs Harts Range has to offer.

Wednesday morning commenced with a specialised soccer session run by Jordan. The students were eager to learn the rules and the Sports Challenge crew were more than happy to help. This led to a modified game being played, with the girls coming out victorious and outscoring the boys 3-2. We were very impressed with how quickly the students picked up the game and the level of skill they demonstrated.

Garry, James & Jordan with the Happy Students at Harts Range

An activity packed session was planned for the rest of the day, with all classes combining to form three teams and participate in a mini-Olympics. The three teams were led by each of the three Sports Challenge coaches, with their competitive sides starting to come out. The Olympics began with a basketball shootout, before going into a bean bag relay and followed up by a Frisbee Rings of Olympiad. The scores were tight going into the final activity, where the students were to be put to the test in an AFL Goal Kicking competition. Some impressive goal kicking was executed, however the team led by Garry came out victorious in the end. It was a thrilling conclusion, to an overall fantastic program.

To top off the amazing program, the team were treated to a delicious lamb roast dinner from Caroline and her sister Jennifer. A splendid night filled with laughter, great food and even better company. Special thanks go to Principal Edward Duffill and Caroline Brennan-Tucker for their hard work in organising the logistics of the trip and their helpfulness throughout our stay. We look forward to coming back next time.