WHEN it comes to comparing life in the Top End with Ballarat, it’s not just the weather that’s different.
For a 12-year-old, it’s virtually another world.
The Ballarat Football Netball Club will host an Indigenous awareness night on Wednesday at Simonds Park, Alfredton, in conjunction with the Thathangathay Foundation.
Foundation members made up of young men and women from the Wadeye community in the Northern Territory, including young footballers, will give junior footballers from the Ballarat region an insight into what life is like growing up in a remote indigenous community.
Dominic Crawley, who is under-12 seniors coach at the Ballarat Swans, said it would likely prove an eye-opener for some.
“I think as football clubs, we need to develop young people, not just from a sporting ability point of view, but also life as a whole,” Crawley said. “It is a great opportunity to get about 250 kids together to talk about social issues. My brother, Justin, is the director of the Thathangathay Foundation and, since the Aboriginal side of things has been a hot topic in football, we thought we’d have an awareness night.
“For example, a 12-year-old up there is effectively considered an adult, and must learn to look after themselves in some ways. So we will look at the comparisons between young people here and young people up there.
“We had an awareness night in Bright in north-eastern Victoria and the kids up there were blown away that there are parts of Australia where English is a second language.”
Justin Crawley was a school principal in Port Keith in remote Northern Territory, which is also called Wadeye in the local language.
Dominic Crawley said junior footballers and netballers from other clubs were also welcome to attend providing they booked in advance through the Ballarat Football Club’s website www.ballaratfc.com
The club will be running two sessions as follows: Under-10 and under-12s between 4pm and 5pm, and under-14 and under-16.5 from 5pm to 6pm.
The club will put on a barbecue and there will opportunities to win signed AFL jumpers and tickets to the “Dreamtime at the G” match between Essendon and Richmond at the MCG.
Proceeds will go to the Thathangathay Foundation.