"A project reaping the rewards of young people flocking to its doors is Midnight Basketball. Proving successful around Australia, a proven program ensuring its 12 to 18 year olds take part in workshops before playing basketball. These kids are taught how to work and have fun.
Programs like this deserve to be supported and can continue to be successful well into the future."
First Indigenous Federal MP
House of Representatives
Winning this International Microsoft Competition included Microsoft Enterprise Software and the Tournament System was then developed by Commonwealth Bank's Enterprise-IT Division.
"When you are talking about a charity, they don't want to have to invest dollars in developing things. They just want to be able to get things setup up, get running, so that they can divert those dollars in to the important things which are the kids."
Brendan Royal, Enterprise-IT, Commonwealth Bank
"To get a good IT system is crucial to the success of the local programs and to ensure effective management of tournaments, and incredible experiences with tangible outcomes for so many youth nationally."
National Tournament Manager, Midnight Basketball Australia
"We always wanted to work with communities across Australia to build a robust, sustainable solution and then be able to make it available to every community with need. There is no way Midnight Basketball would be the replicable, scalable program it is today without this technology.
We believe our youth should have the best solution in the world.
Winning this was a game changer."
Tess White, Chief Executive, Midnight Basketball Australia
AIIA e-Community and e-Inclusion NSW Winner
Jonathon Wolfe, Chair, Midnight Basketball Australia and Member, Pearcey Hall of Distinction (ICT), accepts the award from The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox MLC and then Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury and Finance NSW.
"I loved seeing the participant’s confidence, team work and social interactions grow from strength to strength each week. The workshops educating youth in everyday life skills is a brilliant idea."
Volunteer Workshop Assistant, Midnight Basketball Forster
"The bond the young people have created with the Tournament Night Manager, the volunteers and the Committee during this Tournament has been outstanding. As a youth worker it is very rewarding to watch young people grow into mature and responsible adults and at Midnight Basketball you can see the role modeling from our Committee and Volunteers being a direct influence on the choices and decision making these young people are reflecting."
Vanessa Simmonds, Blacktown City Council
Chair, Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
"To be able to support Midnight Basketball over the last few years has been a privilege. The participants have learnt about respect, dignity and trust. These are characteristics that will heed them well into the future. Our community needs to invest in the leadership of our youth and Midnight Basketball exemplifies this in a safe and secure environment. Well done to all concerned."
Midnight Basketball Volunteer
"This program demonstrates that young people can have fun together regardless of their socioeconomic status, age or culture and without drugs or alcohol."
Volunteer, Midnight Basketball Dubbo
"My son was one of the lucky kids in this extraordinary programme. I just wish to express how grateful I am that so many people have come together to organise this for our teen kids in the north, where there are a lot of people like myself who can’t afford the expense, and possibly struggle to put food on the table. I was so excited for him to have this opportunity."
Parent, Midnight Basketball Salisbury
"The Australian Institute of Criminology published paper “Sport, Physical Activity and Antisocial Behaviour in Youth” identified a set of Good Practice Program Principles outlining the important structural considerations in the implementation of sport and physical activity programs. The Midnight Basketball program clearly incorporates all of these considerations."
Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Salisbury
"The partnership formed between University Division of Rural Health, their final year nutrition and Physiotherapy students and the Midnight Basketball Committee has been incredible successful. Year 4 students have been involved as part of their placement, in both the delivery of workshops in health and nutrition along with a workshop on the human body and its function. The fact that many of these fourth year students volunteered to help on additional nights during the tournament is testimony to the value they perceive in volunteering for the community youth at risk program.
The Midnight Basketball kids instantly gravitate to the university students, asking a million questions and there is genuine engagement and relationship building at work in this youth friendly environment. Overwhelmingly the students have come away with a very positive experience of midnight basketball and we are thankful to the organizing committee in fostering and enabling this linkage to happen."
Gaye Mihell, University Division of Rural Health,
Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Tamworth
"All the perseverance and hard work is definitely worth it just to see all the kids so very excited."
Robyn Holloway, Telstra,
Chair, Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Grafton
"Inclusion and community partnerships working together for a common goal = Salisbury Midnight Basketball"
Chris Calyun, City of Salisbury
"I have been honored to witness the growth both on and off Court of two young men, Warren and Connor. Warren has been a part of Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt for a number of years and we have watched him develop his basketball skills and work ethic throughout the tournaments to get him to a position of being selected for the Blacktown Under 18 Re squad. This is a direct result of the work of Midnight Basketball as Warren does not play in any other official competitions. Connor through the life skill workshops and with the support of the Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt Committee has just been accepted into a Traineeship with Blacktown City Council as a direct result of this great community initiative."
Nathanial Bennett, Emerton Leisure Centre,
Youth Manager, Volunteer Management Committee,
Coach, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
"Our Midnight Basketball kids have come a long way from the first tournament when they just wanted to be with their own friends. Now three tournaments later, many of them don’t seem to mind who they play with. It’s great that they see Midnight Basketball as a safe environment to make new friends."
Melissa Semeri, Bankstown City Council
Midnight Basketball Bankstown
"From day 1 of these tournaments, I simply cannot explain how fun it is to be a part in working for such a great cause. Basketball and working with children is my passion, so it is only natural that midnight basketball is that too. Seeing the kids learn not only the game but the sportsmanship and friendships developed intuitive with the skills and knowledge they gain from workshops is truly inspirational. My personal highlight was when one of my players thanked me for believing in them despite others doubting his abilities. Working with fellow volunteers too is simply a pleasure. They have been my new family and am always welcome to meet new people to add to this community."
Sam Huynh, Tournament Night Manager, Midnight Basketball Bankstown
"Basketball as a sport offers the participants a range of opportunities not just as players but also in other supporting roles. As part of the Midnight Basketball program we have been able to offer some Beginner Referee Training and additional support to enable the participants to contribute as trained referees both in the Midnight Basketball tournaments but also the local junior competitions through their local association (Blacktown West Basketball Assoc.). The training is a great opportunity for the young players to continue to contribute to the program even when too old to play and it also builds the capacity of the local community and extends the capability of basketball as a sport to broaden its appeal in the community."
Rose, NSW Sport and Recreation,
Volunteer Managment Committee, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
"I'm so grateful for the Midnight Basketball program, it has helped my child to make friends with Aussie kids."
Midnight Basketball Parent
"Absolutely in love with my volunteer job.
Much rather be hanging out with such beautiful kids, seeing them happy and smiling, than partying!
It makes me feel so much better about myself, when I see such amazing teenagers coming together for Midnight Basketball!! 5 Tournaments down, and the 6th has commenced tonight!
It really is rewarding, doing what I do! I love each and every single person to bits, and creating memories along the way is a bonus!
Mick almost had me in tears with the beautiful words he said about me, and I am honoured to be around everyone there!
See you all next week, for more fun, and excitement!"
Catherine Carter, Volunteer, Midnight Basketball Salisbury
"I have worked with the most disengaged and at risk young people in the Albury Wodonga area for well over a decade I would just like to give you some feedback on the job you are doing with Albury Midnight Basketball.
In my role as Youth Connections Coordinator I have observed the the program over a number years and our organisation has had involvement on a number of levels, referring and supporting young people to attend, having staff volunteer as team managers and in the welfare role as well as also running workshops.
As you are aware last Friday night I dragged myself after a very draining week of work and home renovating to deliver the team building workshop on behalf of Youth Connections. This is the 3rd time I have run this workshop and I believe it to have been a positive and successful workshop in the past. What I observed on Friday night was an outstanding program that has evolved and developed immensely even since its first tournament. The young people were respectful and supportive of each other, the team managers were passionate and encouraging, the overall coordination was excellent and these where not even the highlights.
The highlights for me were the way in which young people participated and allowed themselves to behave like kids and just have fun without the worries of life outside, I know this because many are current or past clients of the Youth Connections program I manage. Seeing young people laughing and sharing the moment with other young people who they would probably never usually associate with at school or in the community. I also observed that many have been coming to Midnight Basketball for a while and that there was a great sense of belonging and leadership. Albury is diversifying as a community and this is reflected in the young people present on Friday night. I spoke to one young women who had been playing in the regular Albury Basketball comp but did not want to miss out on Midnight Basketball.
I know that not every week is plain sailing yet that's the nature of the young people we work with. I hung around after completing my workshops to watch a few games and realised that what I had witnessed in the workshops was exactly what I saw on the court. Opponents helping each other to their feet after a tumble and high fives and hand shakes after each game. I witnessed real competitiveness and also support for those who basketball is not their strongest attribute.
I left that night after a very long day work feeling energized from what I had experienced and privileged to had have shared the time.
I just wanted to let you know you are do a fantastic job in establishing a foundation point with the young people and their community.
Craig White, YES Youth & Family Services,
Youth Manager, Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Albury
"Hello, this is Tamika, last night really touched my heart of how well the program was run and the amount of kids that you guys have touched."
Referee, Midnight Basketball Salisbury
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"We thank the Midnight Basketball Committee and young people for their ongoing support for the centre. We have only had positive comments from our duty managers over the evenings and the security company on the manners and respect young people have shown for the venue and staff."
Emerton Leisure Centre, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
"One of our longstanding players Brenton Novak started volunteering as a team manager for this tournament as he had turned 19. He ran his team professionally and was able to make the transition from player to volunteer smoothly. He also organised for players and volunteers to sign a birthday card to mark Ben Oloaga’s birthday (a player who passed away last year) and presented it to Ben’s mother on a tournament night. We are so proud."
Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Campbelltown
"It's great to get people working together for such an active and well organised event. One of our volunteers said, “if this was going when my son was growing up, it would have changed his life.” That’s the great thing about volunteering here - it's making a difference in individuals lives and educating them in a fun positive way. It would all be worth it for one life saved from poor life choices. But many more than that are learning about respect and community."
Geoff Allen, HopePoint Church,
Logistics Manager, Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Bankstown
"My experience of volunteering for Midnight Basketball at Bankstown was vastly different from my experience as a player. I faced a new learning experience by volunteering to be a junior referee for this tournament and my confidence, decision making and communication skills were tested like never before. I was put under high pressure situations and although made many mistakes, I also made a lot of improvement and am looking forward to continuing in this trajectory. I received great constructive criticism and feedback from the senior referees, coaches and scoring assistants which guided me throughout the process and this has certainly encouraged me to put my hand up to volunteer again in the next tournament. The skills which I have developed by volunteering in this tournament have a very real application to our everyday lives, and so being able to work on these in a very hands on manner was a very unique experience and a highlight for me from this tournament."
Tanveer Kaur, Volunteer Assistant Referee (Junior)
"The relationships and respect created between the participants was what I noticed the most. Some of the younger players really took to some of the older ones who took on a role model role and would help teach them different basketball skills and would ensure that they had a fair go. These friendships extended over different genders, religions, socioeconomic statuses and cultures and made for a really positive environment."
Abbey Holden, HomeBase Youth Service,
Tournament Night Manager, Midnight Basketball Forster
"I come across some of these kids in other situations as a security guard I cannot believe how good this program is for them. They act so differently."
Byron Clapham, Farrer Security Service, Midnight Basketball Tamworth
"I think all who volunteer, in whatever capacity, should be highly commended for making the program happen. Looking beyond yourself on a Friday night after a long week at work can be difficult, but the ongoing effects that this has on the kids is endless. Each volunteer makes a lasting difference, even if only by speaking one encouraging word to a child there."
Melanie Mulhare, Iona Medical Centre, Midnight Basketball Tamworth
"I had only just arrived at Bankstown Police Station when I was asked to attend Midnight Basketball. Upon arrival I was put at ease by the friendly nature of the staff and players. I had a fun time interacting with the children and it appeared to be that a lot of barriers were broken that night as a result of our conversations. Since the tournament I have been stopped by a number of the kids at schools I visit who still remember me and are comfortable interacting with me. I have taken a number of the children on school holiday programs and continue to socialise at Bankstown PCYC. Midnight Basketball is a great way to meet youth in the area and establish connections in the community."
Phillip Smith, Youth Liaison Officer, Bankstown LAC
"In Tournament 9 at Midnight Basketball Bankstown, I was involved with the bus logistics and supervising the bus runs. I found the bus runs to be a pretty rewarding experience as during the rides home, we would often get the opportunity to talk to some of the kids. I was able to learn a lot about some of the kids and have connected with them quite well. Some kids get really excited and ask me every week if I’ll be on their bus! It has been a great opportunity to be involved with the Midnight Basketball initiative and it is an experience that I look forward to each tournament."
Sheila Nguyen, Volunteer, Midnight Basketball Bankstown
"I was very impressed with the Midnight Basketball program and the way it engaged the kids involved. I liked the way the program exposed the kids to teaching and personal development using a fun sport and healthy competition as the motivation for involvement. The level of organisation involved was immense and it ran very smoothly, with the best interest of the kids the highest priority at all times. As part of a volunteer contingent from our Apex Club I felt that my contribution was valued and I felt supported along the way. I hope our efforts dressing up as mascots for the finals gave the kids some enjoyment and some sense of their importance in the world. Our club is very keen to be more involved going forwards and I am personally looking forward to being involved again."
Paul Dyer, Apex President
Tournament Night Volunteer, Midnight Basketball Geraldton
"All young people who attended behaved exceptionally well. They have showed a lot of respect to volunteers and Committee. Best Tournament yet."
Paul Sneezby, Senior Constable, Mt Druitt Police,
Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
"As my first tournament in the Chair role, I was thrilled to see the continued high numbers of participants throughout this tournament. Young people have been eager to learn during workshops, played fairly during matches and have been respectful and polite on bus runs home. We were very fortunate to have been nominated for NSW Youth Awards – Best Partnership, and received two volunteer awards for Lindsay Trivett – Overall Volunteer of the year for Chifley, and Ron Bright – MP Recognition award at the 2015 Chifley Volunteer Awards presentation by Federal MP Mr Ed Husic. A huge thank you to the outgoing Chairperson Ron Bright."
Vanessa Simmonds, Blacktown City Council,
Chair, Volunteer Management Committee, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt
"This tournament we were able to take part in a Coaching Course – I completed it and now have my level 0 – I am a real coach!"
Perry, Volunteer Coach, Midnight Basketball Mt Druitt