Green Bay High School's young athletic talents will continue to benefit from the Jets programme in 2016.
The Junior Elite Training Squad, which supports up to 10 promising young athletes at the school, is a partnership between Green Bay, the Millennium Institute and WIL Sport Management. It is coming to the end of the initial three-year funding cycle.
Green Bay director of sport and former Ice Fernz national ice hockey rep Casey Redman was managed by WIL Sport Management so had the connection there. WIL Sport has provided funds for running the programme on a day-to-day basis and has paid for digital gear for recording and tracking performance, as well as sponsorship of sports equipment for both the group and individuals. It has come on board again for 2016.
Millennium is experienced in youth athlete development, and donates the expertise of its staff. This allows Jets to tap into state-of-the-art fitness training and tracking. It allows specialist coaches to see the results of their sport's specific training and make necessary adjustments.
Green Bay provides the "pastoral" base for the students to keep them on track and healthy in their approach to their sport. It's about commitment to elite sport and promotion of a pathway to sporting excellence (and in some cases sporting scholarships and careers), seeing sport as important to their lives and general personal wellbeing, but not taking students out of their academic pursuits.
Jetstream is an adjunct programme for students for whom the full membership is not seen as beneficial. The focus for both the Jets and Jetstream is being responsive to the individual student and their needs.
"We've been reviewing each year as we go. We don't always fill all 10 spots if we feel they aren't ready for it. This year we've got eight in the main programme," says Redman. There are also six in the Jetstream programme, Year 9s who learn the basics on Wednesdays.
Green Bay has seen several of its Jets represent internationally in a diverse range of sports: Ben Spears went to the muay thai world champs where he lost to the eventual champion; Jun Selwyn is an international champion in wushu (on the list for inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics); triathlete Harry McLoughlin has competed at the Australian state championships; Emma Walker and Rhys Lloyd have taken overseas opportunities in surf lifesaving; archer Harrison Gee is on a six-month exchange in the United States; and Jordan McLaren is an up-and-coming K1 canoeist.
The Millennium team come to Green Bay once a week to work with the Jets at their small but dedicated gym, and in turn the Jets go to the Millennium Institute on the North Shore once a term for testing. "We try to cover all that they need and not forgetting academic as well. They get one-on-one academic counselling with their deputy principal, just so that he knows what they are up to," says Redman.
The Jets all enjoy the programme, though one boy dropped out after finding it "overwhelming", but generally the feedback is positive.
"We're already looking now for next year. Our new intake of Year 9s have been made aware so they can sign up or not."
A panel of selectors - Redman and WIL Sport and Millennium people - will choose the athletes. They are looking for good character and attitude and those who are passionate about their sport, because they will be working hard.
Some of the athletes will enhance premier teams at school. Green Bay is doing well in water polo and girls football, for example.
"They need to be aware that the school is taking sport seriously at premier and international level," said Redman. She also organises snow sports in the region and has her background in ice hockey to draw on.
As far as she is aware, no other school is offering this programme, especially in the minority sports, where WIL Sport has a focus.
"A lot of schools offer academy programmes for particular sports, but there are not a lot of options for students in minority sports."