Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) has affirmed its commitment to making school sport more inclusive after welcoming Leisl Stimpson, Special Olympics Australia’s National Schools Manager, to its newly formed Sports Council.
An experienced sports administrator with a passion for working with people with disabilities, Ms Stimpson is one of three external experts named on the Council, which aims to create more opportunities for students at all levels.
Ms Stimpson joins former NSW rugby league star Michael Ennis and former Australian netball player Kim Green as Council members, alongside six internal SCS experts.
CHANGING THE GAME
Ms Stimpson is passionate about working with those with disabilities.
Ms Stimpson said she was excited about contributing to what promises to be a big year for sport at Sydney Catholic Schools.
“At Special Olympics Australia, we’re really looking forward to bringing our expertise to the table and helping make programs inclusive,” Ms Stimpson said.
“It’s fantastic that Sydney Catholic Schools is taking an inclusive approach to sport participation” – Leisl Stimpson
“It’ll be great to provide opportunities for students to develop skills outside of school programs and connect with community sport,” Ms Stimpson said.
A history of sport
As part of her role at Special Olympics Australia, Ms Stimpson helps coordinate the organisation’s school programs across the country.
Before joining Special Olympics Australia, she worked with Sport Australia for 12 years and she’s also a trained PE (physical education) teacher.
“I’ve always been involved in sport and have a passion for grassroots – learning and enjoying sport, and valuing the importance of being active,” Ms Stimpson said.
“At Special Olympics Australia, we’ve connected with 10 national sporting organisations so far and we’re supporting their coaches with resources so that they better understand and can deliver in a special education environment.”
“I have a real passion to develop more education and resources for teachers to be able to feel more competent and confident in delivering sport” – Leisl Stimpson
The power of inclusion
Leisl said her passion for working with people with disabilities began seven years ago when she co-founded PINK, short for Play, Interact, Network, Kick.
PINK is an all-abilities girls football program in north-west Sydney which, at the time, was the only female football association in Australia.
“That’s where I was drawn to it all from the beginning; seeing the value that sport had in their lives, and the joy that it brought to them,” Ms Stimpson said.
“Seeing how it developed their personalities, their relationships with each other, the networking of the parents, and the support that they could even provide for each other was inspiring.
“It’s amazing to be able to positively impact lives and it makes you see how important sport can be.”