Give & Gain – my first Fair Game rural experience by Jill Walker

In mid-April I was privileged to be given the opportunity to embark on my first ever Fair Game trip – with the self-proclaimed awesome trio consisting of Taylor, Arthur and I. Having never been further North than Lancelin myself, and admittedly not being entirely sure what to expect, we set off on an early Monday morning toward our destinations in the Mid West – Mullewa and Yalgoo.

Despite being a little unsure of exactly what the trip would entail, the idea of getting to embrace a unique cultural experience in predominantly Indigenous communities really excited me. As Taylor, Arthur and I sat in the car discussing our ideas for day one, and being the first rural Fair Game trip exposure for all three of us, we found comfort in agreeing that the most important thing to us was to get involved and try our best to make a positive impact – upholding the philosophy of Fair Game.

We spent our first two days in Mullewa, just over an hour inland of Geraldton. The kids were on school holidays, and we spent our time with them at the local Youth Centre, playing an abundance of sports and games – four square, basketball, footy and soccer being clear favourites. I was amazed upon first meeting the kids, with just how quickly they warmed to us all, and at how obviously happy they were to have us there. Seeing first-hand the appreciation when donating the recycled sports equipment and handing out fruit and Healthy Community packs, was truly heart-warming.

Next off we headed a further hour-and-a-bit inland to our second destination of the trip, Yalgoo. After settling in to the caravan park, we headed off down to the outdoor sports courts – often referred to as the Rage Cage – to meet the local kids. Again, I was amazed at how quickly they warmed to us all. From building human pyramids, a big soccer game with the local policeman, to running a lap of the racecourse just before dusk – we all had an absolute blast.

Reflecting back, one thing that amazed me was the talent and motor skill proficiency of all the kids I got the privilege to meet – girls and boys alike. Having done a bit of coaching of younger kids back in Perth, the comparison was unreal. I remember thinking wow! as I watched a four-year-old boy ditching and smashing cricket balls to Arthur with such unheard of power and consistency for his age.

My highlight of the trip though, was when I was sitting in a circle with a bunch of the girls in Yalgoo, all in about the seven-to-twelve kind of age range, and they started teaching me some words of their language. When I did the FairGame training, the thing that I most took on board was the idea of taking the time to ask kids what they can teach me. I think that was some of the best advice, because it ended up setting up such a special moment for Taylor and I alike. The girls really opened up and were so happy and excited to share their knowledge with us.

All in all, I would sum up my first FairGame trip as both incredible and eye opening. It’s so true what they say, when you volunteer you really do gain a lot more than you give. I am so appreciative of my first trip with FairGame and can’t wait for the next!