EXODUS volunteer Malcolm Burns is always busy helping out people in his Wendouree West community centre.
Mr Burns said taking time for himself to join Sons of the West was one of the best decisions he had made in his life, and for his life.
The reigning Wendouree Sons of the West club champion is in his third season of the Western Bulldogs-led community men’s health initiative. He has only ever missed one session.
It took a little convincing to get Mr Burns to join the inaugural program in 2016. Another Wendouree West Exodus Community member was a keen Bulldogs supporter and encouraged him along.
“I urge anybody just to go for it – be brave enough to get along,” Mr Burns said. “Being brave about starting is the hardest step.”
Mr Burns likened the program to a men’s shed environment. Sessions are made up of a physical or mental health forum with a physical component tailored to varying fitness levels. There is a psychologist up for a chat, an exercise physiologist about with any tips or injury advice, and students from Federation University always lending a hand.
Men set individual and team goals. Encouragement is one at Wendouree this season and men make sure to cheer each other loud during the exercise component.
Sons of the West is active across the western suburbs, linking in health experts in each community. The Ballarat programs in Sebastopol, Wendouree and Smythesdale have been particularly driven to promote off-season connections with golf Sunday sessions, barefoot bowls and barbecues.
Mr Burns said the programs had reinforced a strong sense of community.
“It is probably like a men’s shed in that you feel you can really open up to each other,” Mr Burns said. “I’ve met a fantastic group of men all striving to do the same: extend our lives, get fitter and enjoy social camaraderie.”
Mr Burns took two men along from the Exodus community last year, and another two this season.
The Ballarat goal umpire, barracks for St Kilda but said he could hardly help but like the Bulldogs for the big community investment they had made in this city.
Sons of the West is part of a Western Bulldogs community series, including Daughters of the West. The Bulldogs will host Gold Coast Suns at Mars Stadium on Saturday in the city’s second AFL premiership season game.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE