Interview: Bootsfourkids Inc Founder Shaun Slater

They say you can take a lot from a first impression, the first thing that struck me when chatting with Shaun was his humble nature and genuine character, often when something grows as quickly as this movement it tends to inflate egos a little, however, this rule does not apply here. So first off, who is Shaun Slater and how did he first get involved in Rugby League? Shaun is the youngest of 6 kids, born in Shepparton, Victoria 180 km north of Melbourne, before moving to Queensland at the age of 10 and that's where his passion for the game was born.

" I happened to live 3 doors up from the Easts Springwood Tigers JRLFC, so as a way to make friends I thought why not play rugby league, so I played rugby league from

Under 11’s to under 20’s for Easts Springwood Tigers, St Paul’s/ Logan Brothers & Slacks Creek Lions, I would say I was somewhat successful for a country Victorian boy who had no idea about the game. I made multiple representative teams, Logan City, South Coast, Brisbane Representative team, Queensland Merit teams. Had the privilege of player with and against some quality players eg Cameron Smith, Jonathan Thurston, David Shillington plus more. I’ve been involved with rugby league for over 24 years as a player, coach & committee member, some of my children play rugby league , I’m still and always will be heavily involved in Rugby league, to help promote the game and assist kids to play the game we love."

I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what Bootsfourkids Inc is all about and what really started everything off, so in Shaun's words "Bootsfourkids Inc is a non-profit organisation committed to assisting children and their families in overcoming the financial barriers of getting involved in sport. Bootsfourkids Inc collets new and used football boots, Equipment & clothing for the purpose of donating to remote communities and sports clubs throughout Queensland. The idea started in September 2017 when I took a trip to the aboriginal community of Cherbourg where the Cherbourg Hornets RLFC were playing against QLD Samoa, and I noticed there was a lot of kids running around with no boots on and thought, I would love to help so I then Started collecting boots originally I started I was happy to collect 30 pairs I’ve now reached nearly 1000 pairs."

"My vision would be to do what I’m doing Australia wide & make Bootsfourkids a household name with an end goal to have the support from The NRL, AFL , ARU, And Soccer Australia, and get more kids into sports, off the streets and hopefully make good life choices."

When I asked Shaun who he had received the most support from, his answer caught me a little off Guard, especially when you see his Facebook full of pictures with some of the biggest players in the game pledging their support to the cause. " I’ve had some amazing support from the Family of James Ackerman they’ve been an amazing and 100% support what I do, Sunshine Coast Falcons CEO And former roosters, Queensland & Australian representative Chris Flannery has been great, Rebel sports, Sportspower Gympie, Whats Your team Redcliffe, Sportsman’s warehouse Yeppoon, leading edge sports Clontarf, we’ve picked up a sponsor in Red Dirt haulage and. Earthworks. League, Union, soccer clubs and schools in Queensland, but the biggest supporters would have to be my amazing Partner and 8 kids , they have been such a big help an support with what I do. The kids are always keen to help, my partner Jessica does all behind the scenes work and doesn’t really get noticed, without her I wouldn’t be where I am today."
Bootsfourkids has recently received recognition and will be on their way to Brisbane's Parliment House to pick up their Child Protection Week - Community Initiative Award for all the hard work they have done. All the links to their social media are down below, I would urge everyone to go and follow the amazing work they are doing and watch as this incredible Initiative blooms.


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