07 February 2024
Expressions of interest are now open for athletes to join the Australian Institute of Sport’s 2024 Share a Yarn First Nations Cultural Connection Program.
In its fifth year, the program creates safe affirming environments which support cultural connectedness and improve wellbeing for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander high performance athletes.
Running from March to November, the program will be a mixture online mentoring sessions, bimonthly activities, and a cultural connection camp held at the AIS in Canberra.
For swimmer and proud Wiradjuri woman Bianca Crisp, being part of the 2023 cohort of athlete ambassadors meant that she had a safe space to turn to while navigating the pressures that come with competing as a First Nations athlete.
“I've never had that kind of safe space of other Indigenous athletes experiencing similar things as me. To have that connection to the others is really special,” Crisp said.
Athletes chosen as ambassadors will connect with First Nation mentors and undertake activities to help them learn more about their identity while striving for greater cultural awareness in Australian sport.
Embracing the concept of sitting down and sharing a yarn, footballer and 2023 Share a Yarn mentor Tahlia Taylor-Kickett says the program has been just as rewarding for her.
“It’s been really special just to sit and yarn, connect not only with your own mentees but others. I really love sharing and listening to their incredible journeys that they’re on as athletes,” she said.
Meanwhile, mentor and footballer Tyrone Bean participates in Share a Yarn to “challenge the space” that Indigenous athletes experience.
“I want these athletes to know that they’re not alone. They’ve got people that have been there before them, they’ve got people that are willing to go into bat for them as well – that’s what excites me about Share a Yarn,” Bean said.
If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, find out more or submit your expression of Interest via the Share a Yarn First Nations Cultural Connection Program by 1 March 2024.
An ally program will also be available for non-indigenous athletes to join in April 2024.