On a clear, chilly morning last Saturday, more than 450 of us from the Modified Rugby Program (MRP) family came together to celebrate respect, diversity and inclusion at Brothers Rugby Club in Brisbane.
Girls, boys and young adults with learning and perceptual disabilities across three divisions, from six Clubs in South East Qld representing 12 teams, their PlayerMentors and their families all came together as one.
The End of Season Carnival is the day when when we look beside us and thank those who share our journey whilst also recognising the incredible contribution that our children have made and continue to make to our community - contrary to what has been said in the Senate in recent weeks.
It’s the day we celebrate and acknowledge what the MRP is all about - creating a long-term home for our children through rugby.
With the canteen open, sausages sizzling, coffees brewing and the awesome Manitou jumping digger all ready to go, we knew we were in for a special day.
Families from Brothers, Wests, Easts, GPS, Redlands and USQ Saints all joined in the excitement of the day as the round robin started.
With so many games happening over both fields, it was great to see family and friends moving around cheering everyone on
Brothers hosting this 2017 carnival was so appropriate as it was there where we started in 2014 with 1 team of 16 participants.
Now the MRP has 12 teams across the MRP, MRP 7s and MRP Colts divisions totalling more than 180 participants.
For the first time the MRP Colts, young adults with learning and perceptual disabilities between 14-18 and their PlayerMentors aged between 18 and 24 also joined in the fun of the round robin but also showcased their skills in an exhibition match.
With the addition of the Colts team and our expanded MRP 7s draw, we now support children from 7 to 18 years of age to play rugby and be part of their local rugby club forever.
The 2017 Carnival also saw new recognition for individuals and this year the Manitou Most Improved MRP Player and Excellence in Leadership Awards were awarded across each of the 3 divisions.
The Volunteer of the Award also featured as well as our final Award of the day - the MRP Values Award - now in its 4th year.
Though the generosity of Loyal Watches, each winner won a Loyal watch and to say that everyone was very excited is an understatement!
At the event, we also announced the winners of the PlayerMentor Fundraising Competition which was our first Community Fundraising Initiative.
Through the support of the QRU and the St. George Qld Reds, the two winning teams will have an exclusive on-field training session with the Reds team.
In the MRP/MRP Colts category the highest fundraising team was Redlands MRP team with an amazing total of $3,063.25 and in the MRP 7s category the Brothers MRP 7s Red team won with an inspiring total of $6,267.50.
Through the generosity of everyone who donated, we exceeded the fundraising target of $ 15,200 and the competition raised $16, 021.
This support will help us cover the costs of our Coaches in 2018 season and for this we are extremely grateful.
We are again so grateful to our Partners and Supporters and click here to view our complete list.
Thank you so much to everyone in the MRP family for all your support across 2017 and we look forward to seeing you all soon.
Megan and Anthony Elliott
Co-Founders GingerCloud Foundation and the MRP