With an estimated population of 2,500, Galiwin'ku is the largest community on Elcho Island. Located 550kms northeast of Darwin in the Wessel Island group in the Arafura Sea, it is home to the Yolngu people who are the Traditional Custodians of Northeast Arnhem Land. Here, the AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) Remote Development Team is making a significant impact on the local footy community at grassroots.
This year, the Galiwin'ku community has become the largest fully registered NAB AFL Auskick Center in a remote NT location despite the challenges remote kids and youth can face when engaging in national sporting programs, unlike their urban counterparts.
AFLNT Remote Development Manager Joel Webb said the NAB AFL Auskick Centre was established in the community to serve the footy craving youngsters.
“Since the kids on the Island are used to just grabbing a football and kicking wildly around the oval, I thought of a way to use Auskick to not only improve footy skills but also introduce some structure and discipline while having fun,” Webb explained.
“Each session the kids are split into three different groups based on age and size and start each session the same way with all kids sitting and listening to what’s in store for the session.
“Initially we began the sessions with teaching when kicking, handballing and marking but over the last few weeks we have started to see a real improvement in the skills and look forward to playing games with some of the older boys and girls in the community soon.”
AFLNT delivers a full range of AFL programs, competitions, school attendance and community wellbeing initiatives through Remote Development Managers based in Indigenous communities across the NT. This includes delivering entry level skill development programs in the form of ‘Powered by Auskick’, which is a less formal NAB AFL Auskick program compared to those in urban areas.
In 2021, over 1,500 kids throughout remote NT communities engaged in the ‘Powered by Auskick’ programs to support positive social and school attendance outcomes. Now, 71 kids in Galiwin’ku are participating in a fully registered NAB AFL Auskick Centre like those in urban areas thanks to Remote Development Manager Joel Webb and support from parents, carers and local football clubs.
Leading the success of this program, local Yolngu woman Vera York has become the very first Galiwin’ku NAB AFL Auskick Centre Head Coach and Webb said York’s passion and dedication has been inspiring.
“Vera’s a parent who came down when we started the Auskick program just to help with her kids. She has not missed a beat,” he said.
“In the beginning I started to give her a few drills to run and soon enough it was time to give her the head coach role! She has even run the entire program for the last four weeks.
“Vera is everything Auskick is about!”
York said she really loves participating in NAB AFL Auskick and helping others.
“I love being with the kids and doing basic footy skills with them – I really didn’t think I’d be coaching but it has changed my life,” she said.
“When my kids have nothing to do I take them down to the beach and play footy, run, do push-ups, do exercise and they learnt it all from Auskick.”
AFLNT Participation, Programs and Remote Projects Manager Cassidy Fitzclarence said one of the key components to ensuring the NAB AFL Auskick program has been a success in Galiwin’ku has been the engagement and support of parents.
“Once the program was introduced and explained to parents, they were invited to observe the sessions, coached into how clinics were run and then invited to host games and activities themselves,” he said.
“The engagement and commitment shown by parents have been exceptional and great example of an Indigenous program delivery.
“The smile all over the kids’ faces and the pride of their parents sums up how successful the program has been.
“The community of Galiwin’ku has broken down huge barriers through this Auskick Center and pioneered new ground for other communities to follow.”
For more information on NAB AFL Auskick, visit https://play.afl/auskick