'No racial barriers': lives transformed by simple sport game
FOR many indigenous youths on the Fraser Coast, sporting days keep them grounded.
And with dozens of national awards under her arm, Keysha Baker is a testament to this theory.
The Fraser Coast sportsgirl was one of dozens of kids at the Hervey Bay PCYC's touch football and netball games on Tuesday, part of NAIDOC celebrations through the Fraser Coast.
Keysha remembers getting involved in sport from age six with her brother and sister as a method to keep them out of trouble during their youth.
"My mum was the one that made all of her kids play sport to keep us off the street, so we weren't roaming," Ms Baker said.
"Anybody can play sport; but you've got to put the hard work in to make it far."
Since then, Keysha made the Queensland U17s softball team, the national indigenous U17s team for rugby 7s and the Central-Qld Crows U16s team.
"It's taken me very far," she said.
"But I want to muck around with the other kids and just have fun with the sport."
Tuesday's sporting day was part of an initiative between Hervey Bay Police and the PCYC to get involved with indigenous youth at a different level.
Police liaison officer Goomblar Shillingsworth said he had seen lives changed by sport over his years of service.
"Sport has always been in indigenous families, most are gifted with those abilities," Mr Shillingsworth said.
"I've seen a lot of kids get picked into rep sides in Hervey Bay for all kinds of sports over the years.
"Sport has no racial barriers, it's about being out there and enjoying it."
Senior constable Leigh Nancarrow said these events helped build a bridge between police and the community.
"It helps us to get to know these people on a much more personal level, and see the talent we have in our sports group for the young people as well.