Softball Australia and the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation have joined forces to deliver a hugely successful Gala Day of softball for young people of diverse backgrounds in Melbourne’s west.
The Gala Day at Werribee Softball Association on Thursday was the culmination of the five-week Western Bulldogs CALDplay sports program in which over 200 young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds took part.
The program came about through a new partnership between the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation and Softball Australia.
Participants were able to improve their English language skills while also engaging in a fun-filled activity that helped develop fitness, friendships and awareness of the benefits of a team environment.
The Western Bulldogs CALDplay Sports Program Gala Day featured a round robin Social 7s softball tournament that proved a huge hit with 230 participants.
The players came from English Learning Centres across Melbourne’s western region – including Wyndham Community Education Centre, Community Plus in Deer Park, Community Hub in St Albans, Yarraville Community Centre, Werribee VU, and Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services in Sunshine.
The Grand Final was played between Werribee VU and Djerriwarrh Community in front of a huge and enthusiastic crowd with Werribee VU prevailing 24 – 16 in a high scoring game.
The Gala Day featured a lunchtime Halal barbecue and attendance by Wyndham Mayor Peter Maynard who presented the trophy to the winning team.
Many participants shared their excitement about the day and said they were looking forward to introducing family and friends to softball, through a Social 7s competition that the Werribee Softball Association plans for the community on Sundays beginning on September 30 from 2-4pm.
Softball Australia CEO David Pryles said the program was a perfect example of how softball could reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds.
“Softball Australia is delighted to be collaborating with the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation on this wonderful program, the Western Bulldogs CALDplay sports program,” Pryles said.
“The program aligns with Softball Australia’s commitment to inclusion and diversity at all levels and facets of the sport.
“We look forward to using this initiative to grow the game of softball to new participants and playing a part in their settlement, community and social connection, and their personal and professional development.”