Two generations of youth opportunities

The National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) has come up with a unique way of turning what might just have been after-school care into an exercise in empowerment, skills attainment and targeted sports training. NASCA has worked across many Aboriginal communities in Australia since 1995 and from its base in Redfern has formed a reputation as a reliable, results-driven and fun organisation among many Indigenous young people and their families from inner Sydney.

New skills, fun, engaging with older people. Photo: Supplied
New skills, fun, engaging with older people. Photo: Supplied

NASCA Youth Opportunities (YO) is the newest program to work with young people in the area who are transitioning from primary school to high school and in the process seeking new skills and challenges. Indigenous people who have completed or are completing high school are intrinsically part of the YO program also.

With a focus on teamwork, active lifestyles and opening new doors, YO introduces young people aged 8-12 to a new sport or experience while people aged 17-22 help to run the program and are then rewarded with formal accreditations. These accreditations relate to coaching and refereeing or other skills that NASCA hopes will directly lead to employment for the older participants. It also builds mentoring skills and encourages positive interaction between young people from different communities.

Project Coordinator Amy Sarandopoulos oversaw the first instance of this project, which was run across Glebe and Redfern communities after school two days a week from July until late August: “The response from the young kids to the older Indigenous mentors was better than expected. They not only learnt new skills and enjoyed engaging with older people from the community; we also feel these skills will directly benefit some of them as they transition into high school.”

The mentors shared their passion for the future of their communities with the young people, while also realising that their own abilities exceeded expectations. Soon-to-be accredited basketball coach James Begley said: “I always enjoyed passing on my knowledge and understanding of the game to others. The young kids are great; I’ve had such an enjoyable time with all of them.” James’ enthusiasm following this term’s program means he will be a paid facilitator for the next basketball program later in the year.

NASCA will focus on diverse sports this term to reflect the interests of the participants. Basketball will again be featured as well as soccer, netball, cricket and rugby league. Indigenous young people aged 17-22 are sought to become accredited with strapping, and first aid certificates are also available as part of the program.

All NASCA YO programs run over two weeks on Tuesdays (Glebe) and Wednesdays (Redfern) from 3:30 to 5pm. The program is supported by the NSW Department of Education and Communication.

For more information contact Amy on 8399 3071 or

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *