Fun, friends and a rare opportunity to represent their schools. That's what Don Stephens, chairman of Dream Cricket Dubbo, says students get out of an annual all-abilities cricket gala day.
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"It's about giving students who don't normally represent their school like that to have a day out to give them an opportunity to have a fun day," he said.
"These are the kids that often get left behind even on Friday sports days, unfortunately."
Each year Mr Stephens and other volunteers from the combined Rotary Clubs of Dubbo come together and host the Dream Cricket Gala day for students with special needs.
Dream Cricket was founded by Dr Roly Bigg of the Movement Disorder Foundation in collaboration with the Rotary Clubs of the Southern Highlands and the Bradman Foundation.
The organisation says the gala days are a chance for students who rarely have opportunities to represent their school to have a day of fun and make new friends.
The 2023 event, held on Tuesday, October 14, saw more than 100 students from 12 schools in Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narromine and Wellington come together to play cricket-inspired mini games.
The activities are designed to be easily adapted to individual students' skill levels and needs.
"Being able to meet so many students from the region is a big plus from our point of view. These kids need social activities and that's one huge aspect of the whole event," Mr Stephens said.
"At the end of the day we give each of the students a medal and to see the joy that brings to those students makes it all worthwhile."
Students from the Macquarie Anglican Grammar School were on hand on the day to supervise the activities, and Mr Stephens said they "get just as much out of" being involved as the younger kids do.
"This is a really good opportunity for those students too and the day really depends on them," said Mr Stephens.
"They take on a lot of responsibility for the running of the day, they run each of the activities - explaining and demonstrating each of the activities as a new group of students come through, and making it fun.
"We rely heavily on them to make the day flow and help the kids have a day of fun."
Dubbo West and the other Dubbo Rotary clubs together have also donated individual kits of equipment to the participating schools for their everyday use.
The 2023 gala day was sponsored by local businesses Joss Group and painter Ross Harris.
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