30 October 2015
DreamCricket Gala Day, Bowral is the showcase for all DreamCricket days.
A day where we introduce and trial new ideas, activities and program extensions. This year, in conjunction with Cricket NSW and the Bradman Foundation we introduced a secondary school T20 Blast and skills program for special needs students, as we have received many comments from DreamCricket participants in the past few years, “what do we do now. We have been coming for four years and were now going into high school. No more DreamCricket!”
Well, DreamCricket has created a pathway for these children to continue sport through high school, giving them further confidence to move onto Special Olympics and some, into mainstream sport.
We have also had a local Paralympian, Danial Rumsey (swimming), join us over the past six annual days on the hallowed turf of Bradman Oval, where he has mixed with the children, playing and talking to them, inspiring them to do their best. He is living proof, “if you continue to do your best you can achieve your dreams, whatever they may be.”
This year we inducted Danial as our face of DreamCricket. A well deserved, DreamCricket Ambassador.
The Clown Doctors, Dr. Peabrain and Dr. Quack were introduced to entertain the children as they moved around the activities and throughout their lunch time and did a remarkable job. They were continually surrounded by happy faces. Meeting many children they recognized from their work at the children’s hospitals, which they do to ensure the children feel relaxed and welcome as many have long stays away from their families, and took names of some that are booked to spend time in hospital in the near future. Remarkable endless energy!
We invited more than 20 Rotarians from Canberra, Gippsland Victoria, Adelaide, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Lismore, Dubbo, South Coast, Orange, Wodonga and Sydney to observe and to learn the processes in forming a committee to build and coordinate the program, introducing it back in their respective areas on their return.
Bradman oval at 6.30am on a crisp morning is nothing short of tranquil. Although the 15 shade tents erected the previous day around the centre square, and the coloured bunting flapping in the morning breeze took away from the picturesque cricket ground, there was an air of excitement of the day to come. Once the grounds men had dragged the piping between two sit-on mowers to dew-off, a process that is necessary to so the morning sun doesn’t burn the grass by using the dew as a magnifying glass, it was time for me to set up. Spreading out over two zones utilising half the oval, giving each of the six activities plenty of room for children to swing, hit, run, dive as they give it their all like their idols on TV.
As time clicked by, volunteers arrived one by one looking for jobs, erecting fence banners, blowing up balloons that formed the arrival arch, erecting signs listing names and allocated duties, setting up registration, information and sponsors tents and most important of all the BBQ.
Briefing of the army of Rotary and other community association helpers took place, then the fifty three high school activity volunteers and thirty two Tudor House primary school ball chasers, which takes time as they each receive a short history of DreamCricket to appreciate the importance of their contribution and enormous growth of the program, and the gratitude of DreamCricket Bowral committee. The activity students are taken onto the oval and given instruction of each of the activities, the adjustment for individual abilities and suggested challenges to extend them. We can hear the excitement in the air as the children arrive in their busses and escorted to their shade tent and explained the day’s process by the Rotary team managers. The green oval now being lost to the various school uniforms, white t-shirts and coloured floppy hats given to each child to remember the day and to signify to the organisers if any child strays from their zone. The Bowral High School band provide a carnival music atmosphere while occasional announcements are heard from the PA system that will take over the music duties during the day when the band returns to school at the official start.
107.1FM is broadcasting direct from the ground throughout the day, so with a little coordination a short opening speech is given by the Chairman Brian Pattinson, a presentation of a cheque from longtime supporters Veolia Mulwarrie, the hooter sounds the start and the music volume is increased. Not only can you hear the sounds of fun and excitement but you can see the swaying bodies to every beat of the doof! doof!, coming from each speaker.
The ground is packed with 135 children from 13 schools between Campbelltown, Goulburn and Wollongong, parents, teachers, and volunteers numbering over 1 adult to 1 child, with 85 school student from Bowral High, Chevalier College, Moss Vale High, Oxley College and SHCS complimenting, encouraging and enthusing the children to achieve their goals
The T20 games holding their own on the two mini ovals at the opposite end of the oval with plenty of cheering and encouragement from those team members waiting to bat, some warming up physically and mentally in the skills zone.
All visitors taken around initially, or by choice, left to get involved and be part of the children’s experience. 3 rotations, drink break with recess and 3 more rotations before a, well deserved, lunch break. Two modified games, one each zone are set up during this break then played so all can practice the skills learnt during the morning session.
The presentation of the well earned and prize possession of a gold medallion (like those distinguish medals achieved by Danial Rumsey and displayed around his neck during the day) are presented by the Clown Doctors and members of the committee to complete the day.