Indigenous youth leadership academy brings young people together through culture and sport

Victoria’s Baldau Yiooghen Youth Leadership Academy is helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents gain greater knowledge, pride, and understanding of their cultures through sport.

Meaning “Big Dreams” in Wurundjeri language, Baldau Yiooghen was formed in 2018 to help young Indigenous people achieve their employment, educational and leadership skills and dreams.

Tennis Australia has had an ongoing partnership with the academy since its inception and contributes to the academy by hosting visits, running talks and workshops, and supporting employment opportunities for academy members and alumni.

The national tennis organisation has said it’s committed to increasing opportunities and accessibility to tennis for Indigenous people by:

  • Engaging with Indigenous communities
  • Educating clubs and coaches
  • Enhancing talent identification
  • Providing pathway opportunities
  • Creating playing opportunities through community events and tournaments.

As tennis season ramps up again, Indigenous tennis hopefuls are being inspired by none other than World No. 1, Ash Barty, who is the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador.

Barty partnered with Tennis Australia in 2018 to help promote tennis in Indigenous communities across Australia and she has captured the attention and hearts of many Australians of all ages, genders, and cultures as a role model of somebody who has achieved their dreams.

“I’m a very proud Indigenous woman and I think that for me taking on this role is something very close to my heart. I’m very excited,” Barty said when she first made the announcement in 2018.

Barty is Australia’s first female number one since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

The ongoing operation of Baldau Yiooghen is allowing Indigenous young people to upskill and reach their potentials while remaining in touch and connected to their cultures.

By Sharnae Watson

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