Little Athletics in Australia
About 95,000 Australian Children are involved in a club called “Little Athletics”. This club caters for children 5 to 15 years old with a wide variety in physical attributes and athletic ability. The activities are all track and field based skills like running, throwing, jumping, and walking. With a motto of ‘Family, Fun and Fitness’ they focus on getting involved and having fun so you have a healthy lifestyle with your family.
Australians are very proud of this successful club because it originated in Australia and has proved to be very successful. It all started when three young boys were turned away from an Athletics competition because they were too young. The Official who turned them away, Trevor Billingham, later started a small Saturday Morning competition to meet the needs of enthusiastic young athletes. That was in 1964. The organization grew rapidly and spread nationwide.
One of the problems we have with organized sports in Australia is our summer heat waves. When children have been practicing and are ready to compete it becomes a big decision when to call off activities. The Little Athletics organization has set out guidelines that play should cease if the temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius. 36 Degrees it is recommended that activities be postponed until the temperature drops. If the temperature is over 34 plenty of water and shade is made available to both competitors and officials.
Little Athletics Australia is dependent on volunteers at all levels. Parents have the chance to help out at the canteen, keep records, manage events, manage an age group or join a work roster. Parents benefit greatly from working closely with their children sporting activities.
Australian Children benefit from being involved in healthy fun weekend activities. Aside from the sporting benefits, they make lots of new friends and get to interact with other adults. It may be the first stepping stone to a fantastic career as a professional athlete, or perhaps the beginning of a life long habit to be involved with community sport. Travelling to compete in competitions is a very exciting part of little Athletics.
Many of our future champions will start their athletic career at the Saturday morning meetings of Little Athletics in Australia