By Romy Stephens
The Mount Evelyn Netball Club celebrated 50 years of community netball last week.
Current and former players, committee members and parents gathered at the Morrison Reserve courts on 10 December to enjoy jumping castles, a sausage sizzle, a photo booth and more.
Sheelagh Kleverkamp has been involved with the club for almost 30 years and her daughter, Sarah, is now the club president.
Sheelagh said it felt very special to reach the milestone.
“It’s a huge achievement, even the association that we play with, LYVNA, have only just celebrated their 40th anniversary,” she said.
“I think we’re the only club at our association that has been going for 50 years.”
Sarah said the club’s focus on “family connection” and ability to train at its own venue are the main reasons for its success.
That family focus has seen generations, such as Sarah and her mother, play at the one club in Mount Evelyn.
The club’s longest-serving member, Toni Madden, has been involved for almost 40 years and her daughter also played for the club.
“It’s definitely the family, I think we’re lucky because we have our own space here as well,” Sarah said.
“We’re not having to go and hire courts so we’re a bit more connected with our clubrooms
“We all train on the one night, so that’s been really good.
“Sometimes the older ones will come and help with the younger ones if they’re wanting to learn to coach or umpire.”
Sarah said the club focuses on developing all players, no matter their ability.
“I think we look after those ones at both ends,” she said.
“Some clubs can be really focused on getting kids into rep and really pushing that top end but I think we look right through.
“Those kids that may not necessarily be superstars but they love it and it’s social.”
Despite the challenges associated with more girls taking up football in recent times, Sarah said the club is still holding strong and never struggles to form a committee.
The Mount Evelyn Netball Club takes players from 6-years-old to open age.
It competes in the Lilydale and Yarra Valley Netball Association.
For more information, contact email@example.com or 9736 1132.