December 2017

18 APAC / December 2017 , 1712AP09 Inclusive and Incisive Basketball Victoria is the peak body for basketball in Victoria, Australia. Karen Pearce, General Manager of Inclusion and Strategy, gives us an insight into the services that the organisation offers its clients and associations. Basketball Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation, and is a member driven governing body providing a range of services for 160 Affiliated Associations state-wide. In addition to supporting its Associations, Basketball Victoria coordinates a range of participation and player development programs, coach and official programs, as well as governance education and support that will equip the Associations to understand issues, adhere to policies and codes and subsequently create safe, supportive and welcoming environments. Providing a lot of support for a diverse community, Basketball Victoria is also the custodian for wheelchair basketball in Victoria, a natural extension of its inclusion philosophy by developing and supporting a program for people with impairment. The organisation has developed numerous entry levels, strategies and clear, integrated pathways that engage and develop players, coaches, officials, administrators and volunteers across the entire basketball system. Opportunities are also available for all people to engage in wheelchair basketball, particularly those with childhood on-set disabilities, spinal cord injury (SCI), secondary physical disabilities and physical impairment that is not traditionally seen as ‘disabled’ (e.g. chronic conditions that prevent people from participating in their chosen sport). Furthermore, the governing body also have strategies and activations targeting people who are ambulant with varying physical restrictions and able- bodied participants who, under the confines of the rules of wheelchair basketball, are able to play to help build numbers and promote awareness and education. Karen tells us how Basketball Victoria is different to other sporting bodies, describing how they have a much greater ability to attract and create opportunities for a diverse range of people and she is clearly keen to showcase the effort and focus the organisation and herself places on inclusion. “With an emphasis on leadership and maintaining an advocacy to support broader change, one of my major achievements would be the recognition by VicHealth of Basketball Victoria as the exemplary leader in inclusive practice, allowing us to leverage this status for increased access and equity particularly for people with disability not only in Basketball, but in community life. “Moreover, the Basketball Victoria Inclusion Team, including past and present team members, have all been instrumental in upholding and supporting the inclusion message and contributing to the overall success of my department. All team members are held in high regard and respected for their knowledge, awareness and exemplary conduct throughout the greater community. Providing hands on support prior to community engagement has enabled those involved to think critically and overcome potential barriers, thus improving access and the provision of successful deliverables easily achieved through this dedicated approach. Critical reflection of our activities and planning for evaluation became integrated into routine work ensuring a robust analysis from beginning to end. The Team has strengthened its evaluation skills, which has led to a sustainable legacy and increased confidence in evaluation. It has been and continues to be, a pleasure to work alongside such a committed and highly competent team on a day-to-day basis.” Karen tells us about her own role within the organisation and how she helps uphold Basketball Victoria’s excellent reputation. “As the General Manager for Inclusion and Strategy, I lead a team with significant experience, demonstrated capability and a firm commitment to provide an opportunity for people of all abilities and backgrounds to be