Junee is in the midst of a junior sporting boom.
Speak to just about any Junee parent, and they’ll tell you about the lack of local recreational options for their young ones.
Engage them in conversation for a little longer and they’ll speak of the wide range of options available when they were kids, allowing them to play sport almost every night of the week.
But that gaping hole is starting to be filled, thanks to a handful of people dedicated to returning the local sporting scene to its former glory.
Within the space of six months, taekwondo and junior cricket have arrived in town, with junior basketball set to follow.
There’s tremendous enthusiasm among locals - both parents and kids - to get involved in the new activities, as evidenced by hearty turnouts at junior cricket this season, as well as the first couple of taekwondo sessions over the last fortnight.
That hunger for local recreational options had clearly been bubbling below the surface for some time.
All we needed was some driven individuals to organise them, and that’s precisely what’s starting to happen.
Jack Charlton put his hand up to revive the local junior cricket competition late last year, Kerri Walker and Sonia Nathan held a meeting on March 20 which will go down as the night competitive basketball was re-formed in Junee and a team led by John Leak and Shayne Wilson began local taekwondo sessions last week. As previously mentioned in these pages, sporting competition brings with it a range of positive benefits for children.
It instills an appetite for hard work, an understanding that hard yakka pays off and an early taste of that intoxicating feeling of success.
It teaches selflessness through teamwork, allows kids to develop healthy and expanding social lives and experience a sense of belonging and camaraderie, boosting their confidence and self-esteem in the process.
It also promotes inclusion and prevents loneliness, a major teenage depression trigger.
Combine all of that with this week’s front page story featuring ecstatic parents telling of the transformative effects that local taekwondo has had on their kids, and it becomes clear we’re already starting to see the overwhelmingly positive results of these youth-focused activities.