Auskick Volunteer of the Year named

By Rebecca Palmer

Mackay’s Rick Norder was named 2014 NAB AFL Auskick State Volunteer of the Year for Queensland at last night’s NAB AFL Auckick Volunteer Thank You Function at the Gabba.

AFL Queensland Auskick Coordinator David Noonan said the function is a great opportunity to recognise the strong support and work that volunteers have put into Auskick programs throughout the year across the state.

“When selecting regional winners we look for someone who goes above and beyond, who thinks a little bit out of the box with some of their initiatives, someone who not only represents the Auskick program in a positive way but also encourages Auskick families to continue on their AFL journey after the Auskick sessions have concluded” Mr Noonan said.

“This year’s finalists have all been really proactive with how they can engage our Auskick participants beyond the program and have continued to make the kids and parents feel a part of the club with the intentions of a transition into club football or further participation in Auskick.”

The NAB AFL Auskick Volunteer Function is in its third year at The Gabba with guests including club Auskick volunteers, Half Time Auskick volunteers to NAB staff and AFL Queensland regional staff.

“Through the night we acknowledge our regional award winners, half time volunteers, and the support of NAB throughout the year in Queensland. Without the support from NAB we wouldn’t be in a position to host evenings such as tonight where we can acknowledge some of the great work our volunteers are doing for the Auskick program. It is also a great opportunity for our club volunteers to meet their local NAB branch managers and discuss plans for 2015 Auskick centres.”

Chosen from the state’s 13 regions, the winner will join 6 other State Winners from the country in Melbourne during the qualifying finals week for a money-can’t-buy AFL experience. The winner will also receive an exclusive tour and workshop session at AFL House and VIP attendance at an AFL official function.

Regional Finalists for the 2014 NAB AFL Auskick Volunteer of the Year Award

Rick Norder – Mackay (Winner)

A key figure in his region and an exceptional volunteer for the NAB AFL Auskick Centre in the Whitsundays, Rick and his wife do a mountain of work to ensure the program is an exciting prospect for new, present and future participants. Rick is always the first to arrive at Auskick each week, the last to leave and has been rewarded for such dedication and passion with over 100 participants joining the program in 2014. Rick has coordinated barbecues after each session to encourage families to get to know each other and to feel a part of the Whitsundays JAFC. Rick sees value in engaging parents at the sessions and is always looking to involve parents in tasks associated with each session. One of Rick’s major initiatives in the last few years has been having the Auskickers play regularly at half time during senior home game matches, he has organised trophies and medals for participants as well as organising a Gala Day with the Hamilton Island Auskick program to encourage integration.

Chris Pike – Brisbane North

Through his ongoing involvement at Ferny Grove JAFC, Chris was able to run a hugely successful 2014 Auskick program that saw almost 75 Club Auskickers and 50 school Auskick participants at every session as well as four new volunteer recruitments. Chris was able to further build a relationship with NAB staff in the area and as a result a Gala Day was organised and funded by NAB for the Auskick participants.

Andrew Joyce – Brisbane South

Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and organised Andrew has been instrumental in establishing a solid Auskick program for the participants at the Morningside JAFC Auskick Centre. With Andrew’s assistance, participants develop an excellent understanding of the foundations of AFL, learning teamwork and display strong transition results into the Under 6 competitions. Andrew has also been extremely proactive in finding and engaging volunteers to assist with the program.

Cameron Bennett – Gold Coast

Many parents and their children are returning to the Logan Cobras’ Auskick program after catching Cameron’s contagious passion and enjoyment for the program. Getting to know the participants and getting the participants to know each other is something that Cameron encourages with the help of individualised nametags. The Logan Cobras’ Auskick Half Time games at Metricon Stadium are an exciting facet of Cameron’s Auskick Programs and the initiative could not go ahead without his organisations.

Steve Atkinson – Sunshine Coast

Having been the coordinator at the Glasshouse JAFC Auskick Centre for a number of years now, Steve saw a record number of participants join in the 2014 season. One of Steve’s many successes was holding a kick-a-thon to raise money for an Auskick barbecue and prizes for participants. Steve also encourages participants to register for the NAB AFL Auskicker of the Year competition and plays an instrumental role in recruiting volunteers.

Scott Pogan – Darling Downs

Senior Constable Scott Pogan is well known in the small town of Miles, where he coordinates an Auskick program at Miles State School. As a passionate Hawks supporter, Scott wanted to see the sport he loves grow and thrive in his town. In its first year, Scott had over 50 participants join the program and he has also managed to get teachers at the school involved in the program as volunteers as the program continues to grow for years to come.

Dean Atkins – Northern Rivers

New to the role this year, Dean from the Ballina Bombers attended every school Auskick program in the region earlier in the year in order to familiarise parents and their children with him and the Ballina Bombers, before the program moved over to the club. Parents felt comfortable with Dean and he was able to recruit parent volunteers to ensure the growth of a family culture within his program.

Tom Harrington – Townsville

Over the last few years Tom, a teacher at Rasmussen State School, has been the driving force behind the school’s Auskick program. Having not been involved with Australian Rules football for very long, Tom already has a remarkable passion and enthusiasm for the sport that shines through in his various achievements through his role as an Auskick volunteer. Tom worked tirelessly at every session to ensure parents were always informed, and the participants were always happy. The success of Tom’s Auskick program allowed him to start a team at Garbutt for the kids to move into after their Auskick experience.

Sebastian Kilpatrick-Brazier – Capricornia

As one of the younger Award nominees, Sebastian’s age has played a large part in his popularity as an Auskick coordinator in the Capricornia region. Sebastian can be seen at sport ed and after school programs between Gladstone and Yeppoon which requires a lot of travelling and commitment on his behalf. Despite the long hours Sebastian pulls it off with his personable nature and sense of humour that keeps participants in the Auskick programs engaged and coming back for more.

Carmel Joyce – Wide Bay

Fresh to Hervey Bay and the Hervey Bay Bombers, Carmel has been running Auskick at the club since her arrival. Through school promotions and sourcing members of the community to supply food and drinks for the kids after each session, Carmel has gone above and beyond. Carmel’s passion, commitment and willingness to help has seen a number of new participants sign up to the club where Carmel ensures that on top of everything, football is enjoyed. This year Carmel worked hard to get all of the participants in her program and their parents to The Gabba to take part in the half time Auskick game, which was rewarding for all involved.

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