HOCKEY: When Sherryn Thomson received a message on Facebook, she only had to read two words before she was so nervous and excited she had to run to her parents and tell what had happened.
Those two words? NSW Bushrangers.
The message was an invitation for the 14-year-old to join the NSW Bushrangers on their Hockey Development Competition tour of Japan for three weeks, leaving on April 13.
For Sherryn, who first picked up a hockey stick at just three, the invitation was a dream come true.
"I'm looking forward to learning new skills and making new friends, and this will be the biggest thing I've done with hockey so far," she said.
"There's 16 games as well as training sessions, so we will train in the morning and play in the afternoon, and there's sightseeing, going on bullet trains and having fun."
Her mother Beverly said receiving an invitation to join the squad on tour was a great reward for her hard work.
"She has put a fair bit of work into hockey in the last couple of years," Mrs Thomson said.
"This is something that she has decided it's something that she wants to improve at, so we're just along for the ride to support and encourage and pay the bills I suppose."
While Sherryn and her family are excited about the opportunity, her selection into the team came a total shock, and are looking to raise some funds to help Sherryn cover the costs of the trip.
"The first thing we had to do was update Sherryn's passport," Mrs Thomson said.
"We only found out about this last week so we had to hit the deck running. This is a great opportunity for Sherryn to develop her enthusiasm and skills in hockey as she aims to compete at a high level.
"As a hockey community we all get together and fundraise as much as we can and support each other as much as we can. Every penny counts and that's what we look at. It doesn't have to be big dollars, but we might get a few Milo tins out to a few businesses and get what we can."
Sherryn said this opportunity would take her one step closer to her ultimate dream: representing Australia.
"Hockey is a pretty big part of my life," she said. "I hope I get better while I'm over there and bring the skills that I learn there back here to training and weekend games. It's a once in a lifetime experience so I want to make the most of it."
Mrs Thomson said anyone who is able to make a donation can see either Sherryn or Beverly, or make a deposit into Sherryn's fundraising account, Bank of Queensland, BSB: 124 001, Account number 22578603.