All for one

By Joe Novella Photos Gary Sissons

Phoebe McShane is the founder and director of Ausome Hoops – a basketball program specifically designed for young people with autism. A remarkable achievement indeed for the Mornington local, made even more remarkable considering Phoebe is just 19 years of age.

Ausome Hoops is currently based at various locations in Mornington and has just recently announced a program starting in Nunawading with plans to run programs in Bulleen and Diamond Valley in the near future. Phoebe started the program in 2019, with a vision of delivering, “school holiday camps and weekly programs to kids on the spectrum, providing a safe, inclusive space, where they can learn how to play basketball free from the judgement of others that may be present in mainstream sport programs.”

Phoebe was inspired by her brother in the creation of Ausome Hoops. “My brother was diagnosed with autism when he was four. He found it incredibly difficult to find a sport/activity he really enjoyed due to the lack of knowledge and understanding from the coaches, staff, and his peers. At the time, there wasn’t any autism-specific programs offered in Victoria (and I’m pretty sure nation-wide!), and I thought about creating a program for young people on the spectrum, where there would be no judgement about their needs from anyone, and they could learn new basketball skills in a safe and inclusive environment.”

Initially, Phoebe took her idea to her local club, the Mornington Breakers, a club she has been a part of since 11 years of age as both a player and coach. After listening to her pitch, the club agreed to support her vision with the provision of a venue and access to potential coaches. Phoebe was worried her new venture would fail; ‘a big flop’ in her words. She was just 15 and had no business experience; all she had was a passion to make a difference in the lives of young people on the spectrum, the inspiration of her brother and a love of the game of basketball.

Her fears were quickly allayed when the first camp in July of 2019 was a massive success, with 28 kids on the spectrum going along and having a go and leaving with a huge smile, their very own basketball and some new skills. And since then Ausome Hoops has continued to grow and expand with more kids attending, new venues added, and the expansion of programs to include school holiday camps and small group sessions.

“Seeing the participants’ individual growth as they participate in our programs is incredible, and we love to see how far they’ve come since they started with us,” said Phoebe. “But it’s not only the participants, but the coaches who benefit as well. Our team of coaches and support staff, made up of both junior and senior basketball players, teachers’ aides, ABA therapists and many more, are like a little family; we all get along so well. Seeing how far those who had little or no coaching experience have come has also been amazing, and I love that being part of the Ausome Hoops team has helped them grow.

“Parents also get a lot out of our programs,” continued Phoebe. “Not from a physical point of view but from meeting other parents with kids on the spectrum. These parents often struggle to relate to others at mainstream programs, so being able to create a space where parents can talk about some of the challenges they’ve faced with other people who understand has been very special. I’m really proud of the fact that I built this program from scratch and that it’s grown so quickly into what it is today.”

The Peninsula community is proud of Phoebe in return, awarding her in January of 2021, the Young Citizen of the Year Award as part of the Mornington Peninsula Shire’s, Australia Day Local Awards. She is a role model for any young person who has ambitions to make positive changes. “You don’t need a business degree,” she said. “You don’t need to study business subjects in school. Just get to work and make it happen. I started Ausome Hoops when I was 15. I had no business qualifications, and I didn’t study any business subjects at school. I had help from people who know all about that stuff, but I was so determined to start the program, and did everything possible to make it happen. There will always be people who are willing to help you get started. If you are passionate about what you want to do, there is nothing stopping you! It only takes one person with an idea to make a change in the world.”

For parents who would like to get their children involved in the Ausome Hoops program, visit the website at for further information. NDIS funding is also available to cover the cost of attendance for NDIS registered kids.

And if you’re a local business who would like to make a positive impact on the community, then consider sponsoring Ausome Hoops and help Phoebe to continue growing the program for the benefit of our Peninsula community.

Peninsula Essence – October 2022