For most adults who grew up as a kid in Australia, they can likely recall a vivid memory from their childhood with a grazed knee on the sporting field, pre-race butterflies or the loud cheer as their teammates scored a goal in the dying seconds of a game. Grassroots sports are quintessential to both our childhood and our culture.
Anyone who has ever been involved in grassroots sports as a player, parent, coach, volunteer or bystander knows the huge community effort that goes into enabling a team or individual to play the sport they love. However, without funding, community-driven clubs can cease to exist at all.
For sports to better serve society, we need to fundamentally change the way we resource sports, especially grassroots sports. Part of the challenge is many grassroots clubs are severely underfunded. They survive year-to-year with outdated facilities and ageing equipment while struggling to attract members, keep volunteers and deliver a quality sporting program.
After all, sports prepare us for the working world that awaits us when we reach adulthood. It provides lessons in teamwork, rewards for input and valuable leadership opportunities. It is our responsibility as Australian companies to look to invest in these types of initiatives.
Schlam has recently done just that – proudly signing on sponsorship for the Thornlie Hawks Women’s Softball Club for their 2022/23 season.
One of Schlam’s newest recruits, Courtney Muggridge, was the Assistant Coach to the U18’s girls’ team who won the State Championships last year. She has been mentoring and running additional training for the Hawk’s junior pitchers over the last three seasons.
“I first started playing softball at the age of 12, when my family moved over East to make some new friends in a new town. Moving back to Perth, I have now been playing with Thornlie Hawks since 2010 at various levels. This year I’ll be playing both A grade and State League which will be 2-3 games a week.” Courtney explains.
The Thornlie Hawks are a family-orientated club and are extremely supportive of all players - whether it be marking milestone games, running fundraisers for state players, encouraging all juniors to specialist clinics, and even being involved in yearly Beyond Blue day.
“It is because of our supportive approach, we attract the young and ambitious players, but we also have so many players that come for the sense of community and enjoyment and who will stick around and watch the higher grades play and give their voices on the sidelines,” Courtney said.
Beyond the purchase of new equipment and continuing to support junior players, Schlam’s sponsorship has also meant that we are able to introduce two American college softballers who will be playing alongside Courtney in A-Grade and State League this year. This will not only boost their strong player group, but they will also help by coaching our two sub-juniors’ teams.
When questioning Courtney about her experience at Schlam, she reflects fondly on her relatively short but positive start at the company.
“I’ve been at Schlam for a little over six months now and feel very much a part of this team. It is a supportive environment, I feel comfortable enough to ask questions of anyone, as well as the numerous group luncheons we have is great for mingling!” She describes.
We all take great pride in seeing young people from our community achieve success in sport, as in all other areas of life. So, when considering your own Corporate Social Responsibly (CSR) strategy for your organisation, Courtney has the following advice.
“I would encourage any company considering grassroots sponsorship to a 110% get on board! It not only instils confidence and a sense of pride for your employee associated, but you are helping young athletes either achieve goals, develop social skills, as well as a place for young kids and teens to feel safe, valued and supported.”
“In the current world we live in and all the focus on mental health, building a strong community in grassroots sporting clubs is a great way to help anyone regardless of age, and something I believe is essential for a good club and why I have chosen my club,” Courtney suggests.
We wish Courtney and all the Thornlie Hawks Women’s Softball Club a successful season ahead.
FLY HIGH HAWKS!