Baker-Brooks grew up loving sports, video game and movies, but struggled with his concentration and his communication skills. His parents Tony and Lynn were seeking opportunities for Jake to be active in the community and he found his calling with umpiring. The Geelong Football Umpires’ League actively encourages an inclusive environment and was excited to have Jake take part in their training sessions. “The fact that I have autism has no effect on my umpiring skills”.
Like many other umpires with a disability, Jake officiates football matches every weekend. “We are very fortunate to have such an enthusiastic, passionate young man like Jake involved”. says Dave Harris, Geelong Football Umpires League General Manager. Another youngster who will also shine on the day in a the Under 14’s Curtain Raiser is Thomas Muraca. Thomas is 13 and will be one of the field umpires between Belmont and Chilwell & Newtown. “At the age of 9 Thomas started training with us. He has scoliosis and is therefore unable to play contact sport. He is one of our many success stories and real performer on the training track” said Brendan Beveridge GFUL Director.
On 8th of August, Encompass Community Services (Encompass) will sponsor the 7th Encompass Cup Football match at the Jetts Oval Winter Reserve, Glyn St, Belmont, Encompass is a non-profit organisation that offer services to people with disabilities. About 30% of Encompass’ employees have a disability, reinforcing Encompass’ commitment to providing equal opportunities to the community. Encompass’ mission is to create awareness about disability and the important contribution people with disability provide to mainstream sport, whether it is on or off the field. Elaine Robb, CEO of Encompass, will present the Encompass Cup to the winning team.
The Encompass Cup is a joint initiative between the Geelong Football Umpires’ League, Encompass and the Geelong & District Football League. The cup brings together a panel of umpires with a variety of disabilities, ages and experiences.
Encompass is excited to see Jake and Thomas reach their goals. “Umpiring is something that everyone can be involved with. It helps people build people’s confidence, management skills and resilience. We invite anyone who wish to be involved to contact us” says Dave Harris.
“We are proud to be involved in the annual Encompass Cup. People with a disability should have the same opportunities as anybody else. Jake and Thomas are great role models for their peers in sharing their skills with the Junior members. We are committed to ensuring that opportunities to play the game are accessible to all” says Tony Palmer, Geelong Football Umpires League Director.
Competition: Geelong and District Football League
Game: Belmont Lions vs Winchelsea
When: Saturday 8th of August at 8.30am curtain raiser & 2.10 pm seniors
Venue: Jetts Oval Winter Reserve, Glyn St, Belmont
Media enquiries: Kiane McKinlay (0421063868).