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Scott’s story

YSAS Member  

Sport has been a part of Scott Krakouer’s life for longer than he can remember. The son of an AFL athlete, Scott began playing football when he was just five. He always enjoyed the rush that came from winning. But as he got older, he came to appreciate sport’s less direct benefits. “Playing sport definitely kept me out of trouble as a youth,” he says. Later, when Scott started work as a Youth and Family Worker at YSAS, he wondered if it might do the same for others.

Today, Scott, a Minang Noongar man, spends much of his time working with Indigenous young people in Melbourne’s west, where he runs a sports program to help young people stay out of the justice system. “The kids come in to do boxing or gym circuit or basketball,” he explains. But young people aren’t the only ones in attendance. “The police come as well, just to engage and play with them,” Scott says. “It’s about building healthier connections.”

For Scott, the benefits of the program are threefold: “Playing a bit of sport helps the kids with their physical and mental health. It also gives them something fun to do.” (Scott says many of the young people he encounters only offend because they’re bored.) And finally, “it helps them build more positive connections with peers and adults.”

According to Scott, this last point may be the most important. “A lot of these kids have had pretty negative experiences with police. So it’s about getting them to hang out and build more trust, so the kids see the police as people, and the police don’t just see the kids as offenders.” All that from a few rounds of basketball? Scott says he’s seen the effects with his own eyes: teenagers and police playing together, then talking over dinner, then walking away with different perspectives of one another.

Sport has played a big role in the rest of Scott’s work, too. In early 2022, he started to worry about the broader Indigenous community around Melbourne’s west. “Because of COVID, there hadn’t been a NAIDOC event for about three years,” Scott explains. He believed the community needed something cultural to bring them together. At the same time, he wanted to do something to encourage people to look after their physical health.

2022 Mob Run This NAIDOC Running Festival

The solution he arrived at was Mob Run This, a fun run on the lands of the Kulin Nation along the Werribee River. “I wanted to provide something where the community could come together, connect culturally and do something good for their physical and mental health,” Scott says. Getting this going involved a lot of legwork; professional partnerships had to be forged and financing secured. But in the end, Scott, who had no prior event management experience, says the day was a success. “To put on an event that gets over 600 community members active, it was probably my most rewarding day at YSAS so far,” Scott says.

The second Mob Run This hosted double the amount of community members, local businesses and community organisations, and with support from the support of Clothing the Gaps, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), Rule Prostate Cancer (formally the EJ Whitten Foundation), Wyndham City Council, IPC Health, Koling Wada-Ngal Aboriginal Corporation, Aboriginal Wellness Foundation, One Tree Community Services, The Grange Community Centre, Australian Electoral Commission and Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, the free event offered community the chance to celebrate 2023 NAIDOC week and the theme For Our Elders.

2023 Mob Run This NAIDOC Running Festival

Scott Krakouer

Minang Noongar man & YSAS West Youth and Family Worker

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