Wan Smolbag’s sports centre opened at the same time as the youth centre in 2005. A multi-purpose sand-based turf was installed in 2006 and then in 2013 it was upgraded and doubled in size to an international standard water-based turf. Futsal and volleyball were the initial sports but since then youth have been able to learn and enjoy hockey, basketball, netball, boxing, swimming, cricket, tennis, petanque and recently frisbee and surfing! The Vanuatu Hockey and Swimming Federations are based in the Wan Smolbag sports office. Currently there are 3 full time staff, 6 part time tutors and an Australian volunteer. The majority of our tutors began as youth participants of Wan Smolbag.
What we do
Training sessions for each of the sports are offered on a weekly basis to introduce youth to the basics and then continue to advance them. Ongoing league competitions in the evenings happen for futsal, hockey, basketball and boxing.
Training sessions for coaches and umpires are organized at the start of each season for the different sports to give youth opportunities to learn these skills and have the opportunity to earn some income.
We also partner with other programs to host sports days, for example in the Stretem Rod Blong Jastis project.
Throughout the year tournaments are held for each sport which people chance to play teams from around Efate and win prizes! We have also hosted some major international sporting events, including the 2014 Hockey Junior World Cup Qualifiers and Wantok Futsal Challenge.
Why we do it
Sport offers so many benefits for everyone but especially young people from increasing fitness, co-ordination and motor skills to cognitive development learning tactics and teamwork. However our biggest focus is on fun and giving youth something to do, instead of being drawn into bad habits in their communities. The sports department has had a zero tolerance stance on violence, alcohol and smoking and works closely with the youth centre and the rest of Wan Smolbag to educate youth on related topics. Some have been given work opportunities but many more have become good role models for their communities. Many have also travelled overseas representing their country in various sports. The current U20’s Soccer team going to the World cup has 4 members who started out at WSB!