CIVIL construction worker Josh Chatfield says he loves the inclusive nature in sporting clubs and how people of all ages can be heard.
While there was a lot of wisdom from older players to be shared, Mr Chatfield said young players also had a lot to offer to build their confidence, make connections and to stay active for life.
For Mr Chatfield, this has always been in football.
The 21-year-old Gunditjmara man, who grew up in Warrnambool, has been named a VicHealth ambassador for the state health advocacy body's Future Healthy campaign, which launches on Wednesday.
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Future Healthy aims to support young people aged under-25 to reconnect safely in being active and enjoying good food moving forward in the pandemic.
"The [ambassador] idea was sent to me by a family member, I read through it and it really hit home to me. I want to be a good example for my younger brothers and sisters - I want them to have a healthy future," Mr Chatfield said.
Growing up, Mr Chatfield joined football via the Koroit juniors. He went to Koroit Primary School and a lot of his friends started playing with the Saints. Together they went from under-10s to a 2018 premiership in the Warrnambool-based Hampden league.
Mr Chatfield moved to Ballarat in 2017 to finish his schooling as a boarder at St Patrick's College and followed friends to North Ballarat Football Club, where he continues to play.
"For me, footy clubs are a place of friendship and connection. I've seen kids and players make friendships that last a lifetime," Mr Chatfield said.
"Sporting clubs are a start to having a healthy future and improving your lifestyle. My advice is to just give it a go. You're better off knowing that not knowing or worrying you might not be as good as you want. There are plenty of opportunities whether it be soccer or netball or badminton.
"I have friends that I am also friends with their dads and there are other older past players who I am more than happy to have a chat to regularly. There's a whole range of stories you can learn from."
Sporting clubs are a start to having a healthy future and improving your lifestyle.Josh Chatfield, Future Healthy ambassador
Future Healthy is seeking young people aged 18 to 25 and their parents or carers to offer solutions for a healthier future. The state government has pledged $45 million in new programs in the next three years to develop these healthy solutions.
"We want young people and parents and carers, regardless of their postcode, bank balance, background or ability, to share their ideas for a healthier Victoria," Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said. "We'll then back those ideas."
Get involved: futurehealthy.vichealth.vic.gov.au
A new VicHealth survey shows two in three young Victorians, aged 18-25, believe they have a role to play in helping plan and create healthier local communities.
Young people aged 18-25 key findings:
- Nine in 10 young people believe that every young person deserves to enjoy good health as they grow up
- For seven in 10 young people, staying socially connected with others has become one of the most important issues during the pandemic
- Three in four young people said having access to healthy food near home is one of the most important things to them.
- Almost seven in 10 young people said having nowhere near home to do the sports or activities they enjoy has an impact on their physical activity.
Victoria's parents and carers of kids aged 6-17 years key findings:
- Nine in 10 parents believe social connection is important for their child's mental well-being
- Almost nine in 10 parents feel that being able to feed their kids healthy food is one of the most important things for their family
- And almost seven in 10 parents said having a limited number of physical activity spaces (such as playgrounds, parks and bike paths) near home has an impact on their children's physical activity.