For the past 6x weeks a group of young kōhine from Kaiapoi High School jump into a bus and travel into 30 minutes to the Hagley Park netball courts to participate in a new sports programme called Summer Social Series.

The Summer Social Series was created with a vision to engage students into a non-traditional way of participating in sport through the use of modified games. Students don’t need to be coached or have trainings, they don’t need a sports uniform, they don’t need equipment and they don’t need a ‘team’. All they needed was themselves and a group of mates

School Sport Canterbury partnered with Canterbury Cricket & Mainland Football to deliver modified versions of their traditional sports. Fast5 Netball was also offered which was student lead by those wanting to play. Each week the girls got to pick what activity they wanted to do and had a go at everything on offer.

For the Kaiapoi girls, when asked what they enjoyed about the programme some of the key themes were about getting to play with their friends, have fun, learn new skills, try something new, no pressure, no competition and of course the van ride.

With plans now underway for the 2024 summer season of sport we caught up with the girls from Kaiapoi High School to design what the programme could look like next year now that they have had a taster of what is on offer. Using the key themes from above we brainstormed ideas of how they think the programme could look like which included opportunities to learn about a new sport so they know what to do when it comes to having a game at the end of the session. Over the course of Term 1, sports they would like to be able to try is something new and modified each week. Some of the suggestions from the group of girls were Handball, Turbo Touch, Pickleball, Flag Football & T-Ball

When the idea to bring the programme to school to reduce the travel and try encourage more young kōhine to be apart of the programme, the feedback received from the group was that the travel isn’t a barrier for them to participate and they enjoy the ability to mix with other schools and students each week. At the beginning of the workshop, the girls completed a short survey and answered a question about what their barriers might be & the most common barrier was that they did not like people watching them. This was later brought up in a discussion when talking to the idea of having a school based programme, with one of the girls mentioning how people hang around after school and might watch them.

The purpose of the Summer Social Series to create an inclusive and non-traditional way for our young people to be active whilst at the same time enjoying being active with your friends which has been very evident each week this programme has been delivered. School Sport Canterbury’s Regional Director, Jon Derry, mentions he has never heard so many girls laughing and having fun whilst playing with their friends.

For Kaiapoi High School, they have enjoyed the concept of Summer Social where they can gather a group of students, put them on a bus each week, send them to one central location and the students get the opportunity to chose what they want to engage with when they arrive without having to commit to one sport for a whole season.

Stay tunned to see what happens next for Summer Social in 2024