Debbie steps down



IN August 2003, Debbie Hardwick accepted the position of publicity officer for the Coffs Harbour Basketball Association.

With no experience in this field, Debbie looked at the role as a new challenge.

"When I started writing the weekly article for the Advocate, I was amazed how easily the story came off my fingers, it's fun to bring enjoyment to others," she said.

Debbie, with her husband John and daughter Christie, moved to a property near Coffs Harbour from the Central Coast and joined the Association in 2002.

As most parents do when it comes to organising children's sport, Debbie volunteered her spare time to help the Association.

For the past few years, she has been extensively involved as a team manager for junior representative teams, a member of the association's management committee in 2004, sponsorship and development officer, delegate and publicity officer.

Publicity was a new venture and extremely time consuming, so Debbie enlisted assistance from members and personal contacts to keep abreast of what was happening on domestic, regional and the state-wide scene.

This network including interaction with coaches for feedback from games at the representative level both junior and senior; the management committee with regard to Association practices, rules and calendar dates; researching the Internet for current topics and old newspaper articles for Association history and face to face interviews for feature articles.

Debbie has spent an enormous amount of time building relationships and trust so that now, all members whether representative or domestic, receive unbiased and equal publicity, regardless of the accomplishment.

She has expanded the feedback for members to promote, publicise and support, without prejudice, all facets of Coffs Harbour Basketball Association and it's sporting programs, including junior and senior representatives, boys and girls, men and women; senior and junior domestic competitions; school achievements, both public and private; skills development and clinics individual achievements including players, coaches, officials and contributors (past and present); team achievements and social fun.

Another aspect of the job was the Saturday morning show on 104.1 CHYFM, which at first was a little overwhelming.

"Not only was I new to the Association, so had no history knowledge, but I found I was nervous and tongue-tied," she said.

But with great guidance from the guru of the air, Matt De Groot and Jim George, Debbie determinedly continued and now feels has grown to become more conversant with the world of live radio.

Media contacts have been gradually acquired and successfully maintained through regular communication and feedback appreciation.

The increase in media publicity has been fantastic for the Association in growth and strength, especially with the live radio promos and television interviews.

In fact last year, the Suns received the 'best game promotions' and the 'best print coverage' awards from the New South Wales State Basketball League for 2004.

Coffs Harbour Basketball Association was brought into the technological age with its own website to communicate not only with its members, but also other Associations and basketball fans statewide, nationally and around the world.

The initial set up of the website www.coffs.basketball.net was a major achievement and has been maintained and updated at regular intervals with events, news, draws and association information.

Last December saw the first Newsletter printed and issued for the Association, which has since been made electronically available to members, along with eNews.

On April 11 this year, Debbie unfortunately fell from a bolting horse which resulted in a broken back.

Over the past few months recovery has been a priority and although continuing to provide her services to the Association, has extended her heartfelt apologies and resignation from the position of publicity officer.

"Publicity has become an important communication tool and provides great image management for the Association," she said.

"It is important to uphold the Association's integrity through non-prejudicial publishing.

"I would like to thank everyone for their enormous support and positive feedback.

"I have gained great pleasure bringing a smile to everyone's faces and putting joy into their hearts.

"I hope that the same support will be afforded my successor Karen Linton."



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