HELPING HANDS: Mildura Calisthenics’ Haylee Reid, Vic Health’s Melissa Backhouse, Ouyen Calisthenics’ Rebecca Vallance and Mildura Calisthenics’ Courtney Lush are happy to be able to lend a helping hand to bring Calisthenics to Ouyen. 

By MADISON EASTMOND

THE twirling of batons and ribbons will soon be available for the youth of Ouyen, as the Mildura Calisthenics Club have donated more than $10,000 to bring Calisthenics to the rural community.

Building upon the success of VicHealth’s ‘This Girl Can campaign’, more than 220 Victorian local clubs will gain a share from the $750,000 Active Club Grant funding, supporting social, flexible and accessible sports programs to empower more people in the community, regardless of their ability, gender or cultural background. 

“Our main goal is to make sport an active movement available to everyone, especially focusing on recreational and diverse sports and in rural areas,” VicHealth Principal Program Officer, Mel Backhouse, said.

Being awarded one of four $10,000 grants, the Mildura Calisthenics Club will donate funds to their new counterpart, the Ouyen Calisthenics Club, that launched earlier this year.

The Mildura Committee was made aware of the growing interest for Calisthenics in Ouyen when Rebecca Vallance, now an Ouyen Committee member, enquired about joining their club.

“For those in Ouyen, to come to Mildura’s Club is a 200km drive and often not achievable,” Mildura Calisthenics Committee member, Haylee Reid, said.

“When Bec came to sign up, she told us about the huge interest and demand for dance in Ouyen, so we decided we would try and organise and set something up, and it’s been a huge success.”

According to Rebecca, the Mildura Club has been instrumental in the creation of the Ouyen Calisthenic’s Club.

“This is the first of its kind for Ouyen,” she said, “Ouyen once had a great Gymnastics Club, but that eventually caved due to a lack of coaching and funding, so we are thrilled to be able to bring the elements of fun excercise and dance back to the community“ 

“We have around 30 to 40 girls a part of our Ouyen club now, and it has all developed with so much excitement. 

“I remember when it was all being organised, the girls would be counting down the weeks and days until they could do Calisthenics!” 

The $10,000 grant will be put towards items to help sustain the Ouyen-based classes and make elements of Calisthenics more accessible and affordable for parents in the local area. 

These funds will help purchase rods, costumes, uniforms and improve the coaching and training in the area. 

“We are so thankful to Vic Health and the Mildura Calisthenics Club for the support and funding we have received, this has been a fantastic opportunity for the children and families in our community,” Ms Vallance said. 

For more information on VicHealth’s Active Club Grants, available twice a year, or the full list of local clubs receiving grants, visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/activeclub.