Expressions of interest are currently open for athletes eager to join the Australian Institute of Sport's 2024 Share a Yarn First Nations Cultural Connection Program,
In its fifth year, this program aims to foster safe and affirming environments that promote cultural connectedness and enhance the well-being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander high-performance athletes. From March to November, participants will engage in a variety of activities, including online mentoring sessions, bimonthly events, and a cultural connection camp held at the AIS in Canberra.
For swimmer Bianca Crisp, a proud Wiradjuri woman, being part of the 2023 cohort of athlete ambassadors provided a valuable support system as she navigated the challenges of competing as a First Nations athlete. "I've never had that kind of safe space of other Indigenous athletes experiencing similar things as me. To have that connection to the others is really special," Crisp shared.
Selected athletes will have the opportunity to connect with First Nation mentors and participate in activities aimed at deepening their understanding of their identity while promoting greater cultural awareness within Australian sport.
Tahlia Taylor-Kickett, a footballer and mentor from the 2023 program, highlighted the significance of sharing stories and connecting with fellow athletes. "It’s been really special just to sit and yarn, connect not only with your own mentees but others. I really love sharing and listening to their incredible journeys that they’re on as athletes," she expressed.
Meanwhile, Tyrone Bean, another mentor and footballer, sees Share a Yarn as a platform to challenge the space Indigenous athletes occupy. "I want these athletes to know that they’re not alone. They’ve got people that have been there before them, they’ve got people that are willing to go into bat for them as well – that’s what excites me about Share a Yarn," Bean remarked.
If you're interested in becoming an ambassador, you can find more information and submit your expression of interest via the Share a Yarn First Nations Cultural Connection Program by 1 March 2024. Additionally, an ally program will be available for non-Indigenous athletes starting in April 2024.
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Photo Courtesy Australian Sports Commission
Courtesy Australian Sports Commission