Sporting codes unite to Lead the Cheer!

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people with placards in front of a building

Sport Bay of Plenty, clubs and regional sporting organisations have united to launch Lead the Cheer! – a campaign that aims to foster a great sporting culture by encouraging fun and respect across sport.

The campaign comes in response to reports of a rise in negative behaviour at sport events around the region over the last 24 months.

Chief executive of Sport Bay of Plenty Heidi Lichtwark said everyone in sport, from parents, spectators, players and club officials, can play a role in making sport a positive experience for all those involved.

“A recent Sport New Zealand survey showed 84 per cent of participants felt they learnt essential life skills such as teamwork, communication and co-operation by playing sport. We also know that participation in sport creates healthier, happier people who are better connected to their communities.

“We’ve come together to ensure that continues to be the case and to help put an end to any negative behaviour that may impact the involvement of players, referees, coaches or supporters,” Lichtwark said.

Sport manager Nick Chambers and his community sport team at Sport Bay of Plenty have been working closely with local sport organisations on the campaign.

“We all want to ensure young players continue to enjoy physical activity as they grow, volunteers remain committed to their club and supporters keep watching games.”

“For the past 18 months we’ve been working alongside regional sporting organisations, coaches, officials and local clubs to develop resources for the Lead the Cheer campaign. Consultation via steering and project groups has helped the sporting community develop a proactive strategy to tackle any negative behaviours before they become a problem,” Chambers said.

Key messaging going forward

The Lead the Cheer campaign will now form part of the key messages appearing in coach and parent workshops, and everyone involved in sport is encouraged to take the four pledge points to help Lead the Cheer: Encourage and focus on fun; show respect for everyone, praise effort and courage and let players play, coaches coach and referees ref.

Chief executive Peter Miskimmin from Sport New Zealand attended the gathering of the Bay of Plenty sport codes and congratulated all involved for working together to help future-proof sport in the region.

“Everyone involved in sport has a responsibility to ensure that the experience, from the playground to top-level sport, is a positive one for all involved.”

Lead the Cheer was made possible thanks to the support of NZ Community Trust.

To find out more about how you can Lead the Cheer, head to sportbop.co.nz/leadthecheer