Praise for parents, Mel and Little Athletics care during COVID
IN her first season as secretary, Paula Stringfellow praised the tremendous work being done at the highly regarded Ipswich Little Athletics Centre.
She deserves recognition too for her caring attitude.
Working with centre manager Melissa Smith in an eight-strong committee, Stringfellow appreciates how all children from under-6 to under 17 are catered for.
“We’ve got a few student athletes that are not able-bodied and the whole club is so inclusive,’’ she said.
“The kids get there . . . and even though they might be just walking the 800m, everyone is still cheering. Everyone is still clapping as they cross the finish line.
“We’ve very inclusive.’’
That struck an immediate chord with Stringfellow in accepting the secretary’s role.
“I have a special need’s child so I want to help,’’ the Ipswich relief teacher said.
“I want to be there.
“I want to help the children that are overlooked. The ones that don’t get to go to special schools. The ones that aren’t quite ready for mainstream schools.
“They are the children that need that little bit of extra help but are still able to show massive improvement.
“They just need that little bit of extra guidance, a little bit of extra help.’’
While still learning the proverbial ropes, Stringfellow is pleased what has been achieved at the centre as another athletics season draws to a close.
“It does help that we have Mel,’’ the secretary said.
“She is the glue that holds us all together.’’
About 200 athletes competed in track and field events at the recent Ipswich Little Athletics Centre championships at Bill Paterson Oval.
That was the first of three meets.
The centre currently has about 400 members, providing an ongoing development pathway to the highly successful Ipswich and District Athletic Club for older competitors.
Two more centre championships meets are scheduled in early March before a break-up in April.
Stringfellow said the parents deserved praise too for helping everyone continue providing junior sport through last year’s COVID challenges.
“We’ve actually been really, really lucky,’’ she said.
“We had to implement a few different changes because of COVID but we’ve been really grateful for all the parents to step up to help with the cleaning and the hygiene and the signing in.
“The parents have been great.’’
A feature of Little Athletics is encouraging kids to participate in multiple events and have fun.
The Ipswich kids involved in the recent club championships displayed plenty of determination and with huge smiles.
Apart from two more centre championships, young athletes who performed well at the recent regional titles can contest next month’s state titles.
Stringfellow took on the secretary’s role after her son was involved in Little Athletics for three years.
“I knew there was a position available so I put myself up and help the club out,’’ she said.
The next Litle Athletics season is scheduled to start in September.