Little Athletics Tasmania recognises that our athletes have limited opportunity to compete in competition outside of Tasmania. In 2014 we were advised of an international competition which was open to a large variety of junior sporting organisations from around the world - the International Children's Games. Wow, what an exciting opportunity this presented for our 13 and 14 year old athletes. We applied, and were issued with an invitation to attend the games; in 2014 these were held in Lake Macquarie - a perfect introduction to international competition for our Association. The International Children’s Games (ICG) is the largest multi-sport youth games in the world and is a recognised member of the International Olympic Committee. Approximately 3,000 athletes between 12 and 15 years of age participate in this event each year. The Games aim is to enable, develop and advance the meeting, understanding and friendship of students from different countries around the World and promote the Olympic ideal. This year, the International Children's Games are being held in Taipei City, Taiwan - our first ever venture of our Australia. Following a nomination process, we have selected 24 athletes to attend. The benefits of offering this competition to our athletes, enables this age group a once in a lifetime opportunity, and in doing so, is increasing our retention of athletes in this age group. Importantly, the learning that takes place during the international travel experience is a very apparent, positive effect of international competition - Communication and listening skills are often enhanced during foreign travel Increased self-reliance and self-confidence often result as by-products of competing in the International Children’s Games. Friendships, sometimes lifelong, develop during this International Competition. Meeting with other athletes during and after the competitions. Although the cost may be viewed as high, the lifetime benefits that are gained are a bargain ! To be able to offer this international competition for our athletes, will give them something to aim for when approaching their Under 13 and Under 14 age groups. It is not confined to the 'best' athletes. All athletes are given the opportunity to apply, and in fact this year, 15 of the 24 athletes do not place in their top three at any of their local Little Athletics Centre - they do, however try their best, have respect for the officials and peers, and are great ambassadors for Little Athletics. We believe the retention rate of our older aged athletes will increase if we are able to continue to offer them this level of competition.