Getting on the Right Track
For Graeme Watson, getting on the right track starts on the running track. After a career as an athlete led to coaching Track at Carey Baptist College, Watson happened upon a unique training opportunity for his students.
Watson had a day to spare in San Francisco en route to his brother’s wedding in the United States a few years ago. Previously, he had contacted 3 universities with a view to seeing their sports programs; Stanford was the only university to respond. The day that Watson spent at Stanford led to an opportunity for Carey athletes to attend the University’s High School Track Camp, an opportunity Watson seized.
It was there that The Right Track Foundation started. “It was not a preconceived idea, it just evolved,” explained Watson. The Right Track Foundation connects metro, rural, remote indigenous and non-indigenous young people through their gifting of athletics. Watson shared “I didn’t want it to be a show off, ‘look how good we are, we went to Stanford’, attitude. I wanted it to be an opportunity for those who go to learn, and then give back to the community.”
A biennial event, Watson and a team from Canning Districts Athletics Club take students and athletes from Carey and the Murchison district in Geraldton, to the US for the training camp. On their return, the students and coaches visit Geraldton to run an Athletics Clinic. The clinic offers sessions on: nutrition, training and recovery, as well as track and field events and coaching for children from the surrounding communities.
Last year Coach Kyle White from Stanford’s track program came out to help, and has continued his support as a patron of the Foundation. Watson noted that it was that it’s been a wonderful opportunity to “…use an individual selfish sport such as Track to build relationships and community, and to bring purpose to many.”
Carey student Hannah Elbers attended the 2012 camp and will be heading to the University of Oregon for this year’s trip. “Going to America was an amazing opportunity… to be trained by a group of professionals who gave great advice, and the facilities where amazing at Stanford University,” she explained. “Being able to incorporate their development program into the running squad at Carey and imparting our new-found knowledge to the young athletes in the Murchison region in order to encourage them to strive for excellence has been extremely rewarding.”
The athletes from Canning Districts Athletics Club also run a training program at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre through the Foundation. “We have 5 athletes who went to the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers in April who coach at Geraldton Camp, go into Banksia and just love to serve through the sport that has given so much to them,” Watson explained.