OAFL in the Community - Youth at Risk Progarm
Jul 20, 2009
OALF Youth at Risk Program
'The Aussie X'
In 2003, a program modelled on the Auskick program put on by the Australian Football League (AFL-national team) was launched in Ontario with the hopes of exposing young Canadians to this sport. Run by Emile Studham, a former student at the University of Western Ontario and an Australian school teacher, this program exposed over 11,000 kids to the game. However, the program was abandoned with the return of Studham to Australia.
Returning to Canada early in 2008, Studham was named Director of Marketing and Game Development by the OAFL. As part of this newly created role, Studham’s task was to continue the initiatives started during his last furlong in Canada. The league has identified youth as their target market for recruiting new players.
The creation of the Junior Development Program was possible with a grant from the Trillium Foundation allowing Youth at Risk to focus on three underprivileged areas in Toronto including Humber South, Jane & Finch and Danforth-East York South.
The Program has partnered with Police Divisions in each of the three areas to provide opportunities and a safe environment for the kids. They will be working with The Aussie X who will provide junior development on behalf of the OAFL by operating clinics at schools and running the required junior leagues in each of the three areas.
From this program, the first Junior Interschool Australian Football Tournament took place on Friday May 29th 2009 at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Humber South campus.
Students from John English, Lanor and Second Street Junior Middle Schools participated in a 4-day Australian Football program run by The Aussie X on behalf of the OAFL. This initial program exposed over 1000 students to the game of Australian Football and gave them the necessary skills to compete in the interschool tournament.
This three-year program will put the necessary steps in place for Canadian kids to play a sport that can bring so many positive effects to their lives. It provides them with weekly training/coaching sessions, weekly matches to play and a club environment that binds communities. These programs provide a safe venue and mentors for these kids, all while teaching them the awesome game of Australian Football.