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Living in a small town presents some challenges in attracting numbers of players, coaches and managers to run teams in our kids’ age groups for their favourite sports.


My husband and I decided to commit time and effort in our already heavily-committed lives to grow, coach, and manage our kids’ footy teams (that’s right – plural!). We chose not to complain about the lack of local opportunities, but to make them happen instead.

What we didn’t know was how rewarding it would be, and how taxing! Our efforts paid off for the kids, their families, and the clubs. We had amazing young athletes of all levels join in, and committed parents keen to keep bringing them to training and games.

For us, we gained new and developing skills, engaged and happy kids, a growing circle of friends, a very tired four-year-old, later-than-usual nights, late meals (umm, toasties), and little to no time left for ‘us’.

Do we want to keep it up? Yes and no. I think a ‘team’ of contributing parents would make the community stronger, the teams better, the kids even happier, and some sustainability and succession to keep these sports going for small-town kids into the future.

I recommend getting involved, particularly if you possess good communication, record-keeping, and conflict resolution skills. If you don’t have it all, identify who in your parent body are good at these things, and delegate!

It also helps to have an open mind with a welcoming attitude, and essentially a well-governed club to have your back and offer support and development.

Kathryn Dryden is a Digital Media Officer at Cairns Catholic Education