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Narromine student off to the Paris Olympics

Western Plains App

Angie White

08 July 2024, 3:40 AM

Narromine student off to the Paris OlympicsCallum Hutchinson with his parents Natasha and Dale. IMAGE SUPPLIED.

Bush Kids can do anything, and it seems 17-year-old Callum Hutchinson of Narromine is one of those.


Callum is set to join more than 500 young people who will represent 36 countries at the Paris Olympic games at the Festival24 Youth Summit.

It all comes off the back of his participation in the Rugby Creates Chances program.


Callum, who successfully completed the program, has been invited to experience a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports at the 2024 games, as well as cultural enrichment opportunities at the Festival 24 conference in Lyon and Paris.


“Rugby Creates Chances has really opened my eyes – I never really thought of going down the sporting career track until I jumped into the program and I now plan on getting a job in sport, finishing high school and possibly going to university,” said Callum.


“I am still pinching myself that all of this has led to me being invited to go to Paris Olympics as part of Festival 24.


“Since starting Rugby Creates Chances, I have learned a lot about leadership skills, how to be more independent, and how to be a role model and mentor for the younger kids and people around me.


On July 4 this year Callum attended the last training session of the newly selected Olympic Rugby Sevens side before they flew out to Paris.

Callum Hutchinson. IMAGE SUPPLIED.


The rugby-based development program for Aboriginal youth in Far West NSW has developing leadership and coaching skills at its core, preparing kids for the future and assisting them to be job ready.


The NSW Government’s Regional Aboriginal Partnerships program has invested $1.5 million in the Rugby Creates Chances program, demonstrating its commitment to supporting and developing Aboriginal communities in regional New South Wales. 


The two-year Rugby Creates Chances initiative includes a 10-week Tackle Life program, which trains 14-to-17-year-old students how to develop and teach rugby union skills in primary schools, at after-school activities, and in local clubs and community centres.


Western NSW students take part in a 10-week Future Pathways program to identify their strengths, consider their careers and participate in mock job interviews and CV building to help them emerge from school-work-ready.


The program then gives students the chance to get hands-on employment experience while earning a Certificate III in Sports Coaching, as well as develop leadership and problem-solving skills, and connect with their communities.

 “The NSW Government is improving opportunities for people in Western New South Wales and our Aboriginal communities, is delivering funding through partnership programs and the Regional Development Trust,” according to Minister for Regional and Western NSW, Tara Moriarty.


“I am delighted Callum will get to experience something as extraordinary as attending the Paris Olympics after his involvement in this program which has been made possible through the NSW Government’s Regional Aboriginal Partnerships Program.


“We can see how Callum and other youth are taking on new challenges, emerging as community leaders, plus practising the skill of self-reflection which can influence behaviour.”


According to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, David Harris, the Program Rugby Creates Chances, is utilising young people’s love of sport by offering an engaging pathway for Aboriginal youth to get active, train and upskill on Country while gaining valuable life and leadership experience.


“Alongside their Student Based Apprenticeships with NSW Rugby, the kids are getting a program with a proven track record for inspiring engagement, confidence and ensuring they emerge from school, job ready.


“I’m confident Rugby Creates Chances will deliver meaningful results for our young people in Western NSW while assisting to Close the Gap on Priority Reform 5, which aims to drive positive employment, training and broader social outcomes for Aboriginal peoples across New South Wales.”

Maurice Longbottom. IMAGE: Commonwealth Games, Australia


Proud Dharawal man and Australian Rugby Sevens Olympian, Maurice Longbottom said he was pleased to see a country boy gaining such a valuable experience off the back of the Rugby Creates Chances program.


“The Rugby Creates Chances program not only teaches kids skills about Rugby, but about resilience and leadership and preparing for the future, and I’m grateful and happy to hear that kids like Callum have these opportunities to grow and learn and prosper.


“Opportunities like this can be few and far between in smaller country towns, and I just love that this program is taking rugby and coaching skills on the road as part of a much bigger picture for these kids.


“I wish Callum all the best for his big trip to Paris, and I hope he can catch some of our games to keep that fire roaring in his belly for rugby and whatever comes next.”


Temia Robinson of Coonamble is a Creating Chances student-based trainee and is full of praise for the program.


“Creating Chances has helped me overcome my fear of meeting new people and now I’m out here coaching little kids, which I never thought would happen,” Temia said.


“We don’t have a lot of opportunities out this way and some kids drop out of school and don’t do much with their lives but through the Creating Chances program, I didn’t think I’d graduate and now I might graduate next year.


“Before Creating Chances, I didn’t know what to do after school but since starting the program, I have learned I can overcome my fears and now I’m thinking of becoming a physiotherapist,” she said.


As for Callum, who has only ever travelled as far as Queensland, he is keen to get going and carry out his responsibilities as an ambassador in Paris at the Festival24 youth summit with the proud backing and support of his family, friends and wider community.