The Bundaberg Region showed it was a hub for Indigenous youth sport and development as it hosted the inaugural PCYC Cluster Basketball Carnival.
Indigenous youth from Hervey Bay and Cherbourg travelled to Bundaberg to learn new skills, build teamwork and enjoy the game they love, with the surprise final giving the winning team a chance to go up against Bundaberg Police officers.
Event organiser Senior Indigenous Community Sport and Recreation Coordinator Mark Staib said every six-month Central Regions of Queensland would come together for the cluster event and it was the first time they had held the basketball competition.
“It’s always really well attended, the kids all come along for a good time,” he said.
“Playing against the police officers in the friendly final adds another element to it and the kids were all excited to hit the court.”
The typical barrier of a uniform disappeared as the police pulled on their basketball singles, and the kids enjoyed playing against the officers.
Acting Branch Manager PCYC Bundaberg Mick Gray said the PCYC Cluster Basketball Carnival had played out well, and he said it was great to have a positive and social interaction between police and youth.
“Having this sort of event helps break down the barriers and misconceptions that there is a divide between us,” he said.
“A day like this is meant to be fun, to break down any misconceptions that people might have about police and Indigenous people, and as you can see it has worked, it’s successful and how we should be doing things.
“We have police officers from a variety of departments playing today, from general duties, the inspector, officers from child protection – all of who volunteered in their own time to take to the court and go up against the kids in some friendly basketball.”
A chance for youth to interact with local police
Bundaberg North High School student Kayne Camilleri played for the local team, and he said although they didn’t get the chance to take on the police in the friendly final the day had given him the opportunity to speak with local officers.
“I’m hoping to become a police officer when I finish school,” Kayne said.
“So, it’s nice to be playing a sport I love and getting the chance to ask questions about what I need to do to help make becoming a police officer happen.”
Basketball Queensland’s Michael Cedar also attended the PCYC Cluster Basketball Carnival where he gave the youth tips on how to improve their game on the court in a skills clinic.
And while Michael’s coaching improved them as players, the day’s activities helped grow the relationship between youth and local police officers.
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