Bairnsdale Secondary College Streetgames

Streetgames uses doorstep sport methodology to decrease barriers to participation in sport and recreation. The program targets young people aged 12-25 years, using a co-design process to determine principles of time, place, style, and cost to ensure a youth led program that has buy-in from local young people in respective locations of delivery.

Funding from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has allowed the roll out of the Streetgames program in Bairnsdale and surrounds with no fee being attributed to participants.

The Story of Streetgames

The 2019 Victorian Population Health Survey found that nearly half the population in East Gippsland do not get sufficient amounts of physical activity. Further, the VicHealth Local Government Indicators Survey identifies that: 

21.2% of the population in East Gippsland participate in 0 days per week of physical activity

A lower proportion of the community participate in organised physical activity than the Victorian average; 21.8% compared to 28.7%

3% of the East Gippsland community participate in activities organised by the local fitness, leisure or indoor sports centre, which is significantly lower than the Victorian average

Further research undertaken by Latrobe University Centre of Sport & Social Impact (CSSI) identifies that over nine out of ten young people (92% of 12-17 year olds) are not meeting the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. We also know that physical activity levels and sport participation rates significantly decrease during adolescence.

With this data in mind, a Streetgames delivery partnership with Bairnsdale Secondary College was established as it remains the largest provider of education in East Gippsland, with a climbing enrolment of approximately 1180 students and providing a captured audience of young people. In an initial survey of Year 7 and 8 students, 37% reported being active 0-2 times per week with 53% of responses indicating that they do not currently participate in any sports.

There are several different reasons as to why young people aren’t participating in sport. Some that have come from word-of-mouth feedback from students include location, financial barriers, inclusivity, and availability of opportunities.

In more detail, our focus cohorts from this feedback as well as Latrobe University’s CSSI report are: 

1. Youth who would like to participate in sport, but can’t due to environmental barriers.

2. Long term disengaged youth who do not participate as they’ve never connected with sport.

3. Youth who participate in sport, however, don’t really engage.

4. Youth who have dropped out of sport for various reasons.

Why Young People Choose Streetgames

Streetgames allows young people to be active in non-traditional ways without focus on competition, results, performance, or memberships. It encourages social connections between peers in an inclusive and fun environment.

As the first step in engaging Bairnsdale Secondary College students, and following a co-design process, a group of young people were consulted and included in the development of Streetgames at BSC. This was an important part of the planning for the program to ensure a youth-led program. As part of the consultations, a survey was developed and distributed to the broader cohort of students to capture preferences of time, place, and style for Streetgames.

Results of the survey indicated that a weekly Streetgames program on Mondays, during school hours, on school grounds was the outstanding preference.

The challenge of Covid on Streetgames

COVID-19 lockdowns put the plans for Streetgames BSC commencement on hold, and with BSC staff reporting that students were not motivated or thoroughly engaged in remote schooling and physical activity, the Streetgames crew were tasked to adapt the program and deliver online to students.

Virtual Streetgames was delivered to over 50 Year 7 and Year 8 students during the final weeks of Term 3 whilst students were remote learning. Virtual Streetgames consisted of minute-to-win-it style games, team building and individual challenges.

The online delivery allowed young people to stay engaged with the Streetgames program, build relationships with coaches, and become familiar with the idea of Streetgames which ultimately supported participation in face-to-face Streetgames once in-person programming commenced in Term 4.

The Results

An average of 25 young people attended 5 sessions of Bairnsdale Secondary College Streetgames. Held on Mondays during lunchtime (1-2pm) a diverse cohort of students attended each week to play 3×3 basketball. Students from Clontarf, Girls at the Centre, ‘the fighters’ and ‘the ones who only come to school for social interaction’ as described by teachers were consistent attendees in the program. Streetgames has provided a reliable and consistent opportunity for young people to come together and be active.

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