Variety kids camp moves in for school holidays

NRL Cowboys House sprang to life during the mid-year school holidays as kids, families and staff from Variety – the Children’s Charity of Queensland descended on the Girls Campus for the 2022 Variety Kids Sports Camp.

The Variety Kids Sports Camp is a two-and-a-half day camp providing children aged 6–15 years old, with a physical disability, the opportunity to try out a range of different sports to determine which ones they enjoy and have the capacity to play.

The House was proud to host the group, offering accommodation, catering and the use of buses as well as on-site facilities including basketball courts and dance halls for a range of activities associated with the camp.

Sports on offer included athletics, tennis, basketball, judo and cricket with participants travelling between NRL Cowboys House and the Townsville Sports Reserve.

The participation rate in sports or physical recreation for Australians with a disability is 24% compared to the national participation rate of 65%, with the sports camp aiming to close that gap.

This year marks the third time the camp has been held in Queensland and the first time in North Queensland, with the stay at NRL Cowboys House building on the strong connection between the House and partner Variety.

CEO of Variety – the Children’s Charity of Queensland, Steve Wakerley said a major component of the Variety Kids Sports Camp is about building resilience and receiving mentorship from older persons with disabilities who have succeeded in life despite their challenges.

“The program is designed to help ensure all kids get to participate in sport despite the challenges they may face,” he said.

“Trying out a sport for the first time can be daunting for anyone, but if you have a disability, maybe you use a wheelchair, the opportunities can be limited.

“We all know how important it is to be inspired by others and mentorship helps the kids achieve greater confidence and boosts their enthusiasm to participate in sports – which is important for all the social, physical and mental health benefits.

“We believe all kids deserve a fair go.”

Ex-Paralympic swimmer Chantel Wolfenden OAM and local wheelchair rugby league athlete Zac Schumacher were on hand to help the kids participate throughout the weekend.

Variety have a long affinity with NRL Cowboys House through support of the Girls Campus Learning Centre which provides support for 50 young women from remote Indigenous communities, including after-school tutoring and education opportunities to help the students succeed at school.

NRL Cowboys House General Manager Rochelle Jones said it was fantastic to finally welcome camp participants to the House after a years-long build up.

“We were so excited to welcome Variety in 2020 and 2021 for their Kids Sport Camp but unfortunately Covid got in the way on both occasions,” she said.

“We’re really pleased that it’s a case of third time lucky for the camp with the kids and their families having the Girls’ Campus all to themselves while our students are back at home on holidays.

“We have a very good relationship with Variety, who share our passion for removing barriers to participation for all young people, and giving them a fair go.”

The camp was free for participants and one parent or carer, and is sponsored by Cowboys Community Foundation supporter Bravus Mining and Resources.

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