With the region’s junior winter sports season coming to an end, Unison’s annual medal ceremonies for rugby, netball, hockey and for the first-time, football, saw over 550 young players presented with medals.
Held over the past two weeks at the Bay Outreach Centre in Hastings, junior football players were the first recipients to take the stage to receive their Unison Medal, which recognises excellence in the values of work ethic, discipline and fair play – both on and off the field.
Football medals were presented by Hawke’s Bay United and New Zealand Under 20 International, Jorge Akers, who vividly recalled his experiences as a young player upon meeting the junior footballers in attendance.
“As a young player, you naturally believe that you can achieve anything – and it’s this belief in yourself which ultimately leads to how successful you are in the future.
“I was honoured to be a part of football’s first ceremony, and to see how proud these young players were when they received their medal,” he said.
Medal recipient, Harry Caldwell from Napier City Rovers, said he was excited to receive the medal and to have a photo with Jorge. “It made me feel happy and proud to get one of these special medals for my football – I love playing football.”
Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough, said through its support of all four sports – junior football, rugby, hockey and netball – Unison has been able to engage with around 10,000 children and their families this year.
“We’re passionate about supporting our local communities, and about keeping them safe around our electrical assets within the region. These partnerships are a great vehicle for us to deliver electrical safety messages to our young people.
“It is continually recognised that great players of any sport start at grass roots level, and we’re extremely proud that our partnerships are helping to encourage healthy, active children in Hawke’s Bay. The medal ceremonies play an important part in helping to shape these young players,” said Mr Gough.