The best University Prac a student could ask for!

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Hello my name is Jeremy Carbone and when I found out that there was an opportunity to complete hours for my Exercise and health/sport science degree (University of Western Australia) with Fair Game, I jumped at the opportunity. Before I knew it I had my bags packed for the 4th Pilbara trip of the year, a trip that what would become one of the most enjoyable and enlightening I’ve been on. Great people make great trips and I had four of the best surrounding me – Nicki, Sarah Pearce, Erica and Alastair, as well as great support in Perth from David and Sarah Power.

We took off from Perth bright and early Monday morning and landed in Port Hedland where we got ourselves organised for the trip, followed by a cheeky visit to Pretty Pool. We rounded Monday out with an after school session at the youth centre in South Hedland, which mostly consisted of fun games and basketball where Nicki, the seven foot sharpshooter, decided to shoot the lights out.

The next morning we set out for Marble Bar with an entertaining car ride full of cheesy jokes from yours truly and some fun rounds of ‘Who am I?”. Marble Bar Primary School welcomed us and we got stuck straight into sessions with the children spreading our Healthy Feet messages which included foot painting and many games. In the afternoon we checked out the local pools and had a dip before going to the Rec Shed and joining the regular Tuesday night basketball game, which was very fun for me but you’ll have to ask the other Fair Gamers if they liked me constantly dribbling through their legs! The next day started with morning fitness, where the girls and young children were treated to the best (or worst!) dance teachers in history and the boys and older children had a footy skills and drills session.

Well… the car trip to Nullagine was a testing one for the team… with the unsealed corrugated roads getting the better of our Pajero! How many Fair gamers does it take to change a tyre..? The next stop was Nullagine Primary School where, after arriving late (thanks to the tyre incident!) we only had time for some line chasey before school finished for the day. After school we met a handful of children at the school oval and had the most fun afternoon of the trip including a limbo competition where one fair gamer in particular was able to coordinate herself to complete the limbo and look like… well there’s no kind way to say this … a thumb. Most of the afternoon was spent with the children pretending we were horses and giving piggy bag rides. In the morning we went back to the school and got the healthy feet message across with fun foot painting and animal relays. We donated some sports clothing, shoes and drink bottles to the kids which they used in their cross country carnival – there may be a future Ussain Bolt at Nullagine Primary School! A big thankyou to Emma and Dawson (and their menagerie!) who once again hosted the team at their house for the night.

The last stop of our road trip, before heading back to Port Hedland, was Warralong the most remote of the communities in our trip. Warralong was my most eye opening destination and what turned out to be my favourite with many games of wedged tailed eagles, basketball, water sliding and water balloons all whilst spreading the message of healthy feet. We were able to stay two nights in Warralong (and felt most welcomed by all the teachers and community) which is probably why it was my favourite destination as there was increased engagement and conversations with the children as well as the Fair Game team who were really enjoying each others company. Returning back to Port Hedland on Saturday afternoon, we had time for another session at the youth centre in South Hedland followed by a night out on the town I don’t think any of us will forget!

This trip really opened my eyes as I had never really been out of the big cities and from this I learned so much and would like to thank Fair Game WA. I hope I can continue being a part of their program in 2015 and beyond. Finally I’d like to thank all the numerous people on the trip who welcomed us into their schools and homes.

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A note from Nicki (trip leader): Jeremy (Jezza!) was a fantastic addition to the team, keeping us smiling throughout and taking a leading role with the older boys in the communities. He will be an asset to Fair Game going forward and I can’t wait to do more trips with him in the future!