A GROUP of teenagers who are helping develop the next generation of Redlands touch footballers have been nominated for a council award.
The team of about 15 students give up their Friday afternoons to run the Redlands Touch Mini Muddies program, which is designed to teach children as young as five the skills of the game.
They have been rewarded for their effort during the eight week program with a nomination for the Sports Leadership and Achievement gong at the Redlands Coast Young Legends Awards.
Redlands Touch junior committee chair James McNamara said parents had been glowing in their praise for students running the program.
"They basically run Mini Muddies on their own," he said.
"They organise themselves into groups, set up the fields and direct all the kids. As adults, we really just put the marquee up.
"The instructors like the idea of giving back.
"We have reliable kids. They stick with us for the whole term or two terms."
Instructors range in age from grade eight to 12 students and come from various schools.
McNamara said the Mini Muddies program was started by parents at the club and had been going strong ever since.
"There was a cohort who had a whole bunch of kids of similar ages," he said.
"Our administrator ran it for a while, and then we wanted to expand it and we needed to get more instructors.
"We found that getting adults at 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon was difficult.
"We decided that we would take more of the mature kids from our touch community and give them some instructor-style training.
"We used an Australian level coach Karley Banks to put a program together and also train our instructors on working with very young kids."
McNamara said the program had a good track record of preparing young players for a transition into competition teams.
"Mini Muddies is designed to teach the little ones the basic skills of touch football before they join an under eights or under 10s team," he said.
"It is more about skills and drills than a competitive game. It helps with skills development but also confidence.
"We have a good track record of young ones doing a term or two of mini muddies and then we put those who are ready in an under eights team and they go forward and play in our competition."
Instructors are Karina Arbon, Josephine Beqiri, Hayley Bush, Ella Carmichael, Jaxon Ford, Seth Harrington, Ashlee Forsyth, Skye Forsyth, Sophie Honeyfield, Kate Johnstone, Jayda Little, Josh McNamara, Michaela McNamara, Ella Peters, Harry Taske, Ruby Thoms and Charlotte Wells.
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