Aboriginal youth compete in carnival

TRIP: Plaza Youth Centre brought this team of Aboriginal boys down to compete in the SA Aboriginal Junior Football Carnival.
TRIP: Plaza Youth Centre brought this team of Aboriginal boys down to compete in the SA Aboriginal Junior Football Carnival.

Whyalla's Plaza Youth Centre recently took 13 Aboriginal youths aged 10-14 to the SA Aboriginal Junior Football Carnival, which was held over the June long weekend.

It's the first time the youths had been able to compete in the carnival, and it was made possible from major sponsors like the Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service and the support of volunteers.

The boys stayed together at a caravan park, with a majority playing for the Adelaide Panthers Under 14 and Under 16 sides while others played for their own Aboriginal communities such as Nurranga because Whyalla was too late in nominating a team for the competition.

The boys had one short training session in the lead up to their games and didn't meet the rest of their teammates until their first game - but they all played well together and enjoyed themselves.

Plaza Coordinator Joanne Jones said it was a great experience to see Aboriginal youths from around the state playing footy and representing their culture with pride.

"My parents used to take me to these carnivals and I would watch my brothers represent their Aboriginal community with pride. It would be great to see the Whyalla boys to do the same," she said.

Joanne also took the team to see the Adelaide Crows triumph over Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval - the first time the boys had been to an AFL game.

Joanne would like anyone interested in volunteering or sponsoring the SA Junior Aboriginal carnival next year to contact her at the Centre on 8645 3999.