KATE Sewell had a vision when she took on Warrnambool’s Aussie Hoops program seven years ago.
The former Warrnambool Mermaids basketballer was determined to build female participation.
The junior development program, which is aimed at children aged between five and 10, had one or two girls each term when she took on the role.
Now Sewell has between 30 and 35 girls each term learning the fundamentals of the game.
“I started doing it because there were not enough girls playing basketball in Warrnambool and I didn’t want to see it die off,” she said.
“Before it (Aussie Hoops) was boys and girls together and there was one or two girls and I wondered if we separated the groups whether it would make a difference.
“I did the first term with two girls and I kept thinking ‘if we give a good product and they have a good time, more and more kids will come’.”
Sewell, a mother-of-two who works as a teacher at St Pius Primary School, was nominated for Aussie Hoops’ coach of the year award.
“One of the parents in our group nominated me,” she said. “It is a lovely honour that they thought of me that way.”
St Joseph’s Primary School’s Roisin Hansford was one of five finalists for the Aussie Hooper of the Year which was run through a social media promotion.
Roisin, 6, was runner-up.
It’s achievements like Roisin’s which make Sewell’s hard work worthwhile.
“I really get enjoyment out of seeing the kids progress, when they get their first goal or the first time they achieve something,” she said.
“The look on their faces or the happiness you see is what it’s about for me.”