The Kickstart and All Nations program came to our region last week with great success. There were 16 participants in the eligibility criteria that came to try out at the Deakin University’s High Performance facility in Waurn Ponds. Of the 16 participants, we are very confident that some players will be successful in going onto the next stage. For the players who aren’t successful in going onto the next stage, they will have the opportunity to participate in the Next Generation Academy programs that AFL Barwon and the Geelong Cats will be running throughout 2017.
AFL Victoria Multicultural Engagement Coordinator David Rodan and Indigenous Programs Manager Aaron Davey ran the skills session to identify any talent amongst the group and also presented the participants with what opportunities this programs offers them. They key pillars of the program are:
- Identity and Culture
- Decision Making
- Respect and Responsibility
The purpose of Kicktstart is to increase the participation of indigenous footballers in the TAC Cup program, therefore providing them with the best chance at progressing into the AFL. Kickstart is now in its 8th year, and Victoria has provided many young talents into the AFL system through this program. These young men include the likes of Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jarman Impey, Jade Gresham and several more.
The All Nations program began in 2014 (in its 4th year) and is based off of the Kickstart model, however targets overseas born participants. All Nations also targets at increasing the number of players born overseas in the TAC Cup program.
Both the Kickstart and All Nations program have been specifically designed to use football as a vehicle to promote awareness in participation, health, education and employment to Indigenous communities. What makes these programs stand out from the rest is it not only focus on football. Culture and identity is another aspect that makes this program so strong.
The Kickstart and All Nations program was well supported by the Geelong FC as well as Geelong Falcons Talent Manager Mick Turner.