Friday, 21 October 2011

"Kick It Out!" Photography Competition for Young Dons

So, do you really have to be a great photographer to win a photographic competition? Well as it turns out the answer is... no. Not really, especially if you are in Keystage 2 or 3, have a good idea and fancy taking part in the AFC Wimbledon 'One Game, One Community' event.

One Game, One Community! - Pele and Moore
Actually the whole competition is part of a national campaign mounted by "Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football!" but sometimes you find fate setting everything up nicely and the opportunity to do something extra becomes just too appealing. 

In this particular case - and well before we became aware of the photography competition - we at AFC Wimbledon had been working with the Education Equality Team at Merton to provide a stimulating* environment in which to hold some teacher training that is being provided by "Show Racism The Red Card" and will include (amongst other items) a personal contribution by Luther Blissett. We're holding it at Kingsmeadow in late November and we will be livening it up by both incorporating a short tour of the stadium to look at the physical challenges that face the club now we're in the league, as well as by providing brief talks during the day on both the Community Football Scheme and other non-footballing community activities available to local schools. We are also hoping to get the teachers to have a go on the inflatable shooting game as well during their lunch time (but they don't know that yet!), so it should be a lively day and work well for all  parties involved. 

As part of the reason for doing this is to advertise what we as a club can offer to local schools, I was keen to provide a static display of an AFC Wimbledon-inspired school activity for the teachers to have a look at during tea breaks. The front runner had been some of the flag displays from the pre-season games but hearing that there was a photographic competition in the offing had me thinking again.

Although it was a national competition I was wondering if we could hijack it slightly and turn it into a more local event? After all it would be a shame to have local schools and children enter the national competition and then never get to see their work. Why couldn't we get together with Merton, run our own local competition, offer our own prizes, admire the work, put it out there for the wider public to enjoy and celebrate our own local successes? I suppose the main reason might be because 'Lets Kick It Out!' could well get miffed at us 'borrowing ' their carefully thought out competition for our own ends, so I thought I'd have a talk with them.(You can read about the competition on their own flyer, sent out to schools)

Fortunately phone calls to the competition organizers were very encouraging and in the end they were more than happy for AFC Wimbledon and Merton to go ahead and hold our own regional competition as long as we ensured all entrants were forwarded on to the national competition. This seemed more than fair to me as it meant our entrants not only had a chance of winning a local prize, but a national one as well. Result! 

The closing date for entries is 5pm Friday 11th November, so that conveniently left enough time to mount an exhibition of the entries for display at the training day a few weeks later. And it just so happened to be on the on the same topic of racism that the training was addressing as well...perfect!
One Game, One Community! - Barnes and the banana
 With time being of the essence, the Merton team took responsibility for getting the message out to the schools whilst I was looking at doing the same for young AFC Wimbledon supporters via the Official website, the blog, programme and constant shameless plugging. Oh yes, and by dropping large hints to anyone I knew who had a keystage 2 or 3 child! We are also going to liaise with Merton for our own local prizes - book tokens on their part and AFC Wimbledon related items on ours so it should be worthwhile entering. Also there would be lots of framed certificates and a public and internet showing of their work so all in all a worthwhile bundle of fun. At this stage though exactly what the prizes will consist of hasn't yet been finalised and may depend on the winners particulars. After all, the prize of tickets for a child and an adult to seats in the Main Stand at an AFC Wimbledon match might not be too exciting if the winner was a season ticket holder who just happened to have seats in the Main Stand!

*i.e. not a corporate training facility where everyone is in danger of nodding off after the first 20  minutes

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