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Tuesday, January 23 2018 @ 06:23 pm ACDT

Community Program A Footy First

Australia
Located in the far north of Australia, the Pyramid Power club – 25 kilometres south of Cairns – is no stranger to doing things a little differently. They have to. The club sits in Rugby League terrain and has to be extremely adept at finding ways to recruit, develop and maintain people – both on and off the field. That battle isn’t unique to Pyramid Power, but their latest project to develop this area is – and may be a blueprint for other clubs seeking ways to engage with community.

Back in 2012, the club launched their Brother Clubs Project – which was simply an invitation to clubs world-wide to be “brothers” – nothing more or less – as a way of bringing teams and people closer together. The idea still exists – friends remain friends, brothers remain brothers. But a part of that concept has now been applied closer to their home. The Pyramid Power Community Program again sees the club reaching out a hand of friendship to others in a way not often seen.

In short, the program centres on allowing their youth players – male and female – to build strong links with the Gordonvale community (the own in which the club is centred) through a process of “giving back” to the community. The concept hinges on the idea of developing meaningful relationships across the community, developing cultural awareness, wellbeing, resilience and understanding. In an era where some of these values do go missing, the club sees these values as part of what they can and should be offering all young people who come to the club.

According to club president, Jim Floyd, “we want to empower our youth whilst teaching the power of giving to a variety of audiences around us in the community. It is all about our youth learning the value of giving to someone else and making their day better. It empowers our youth with feelings of generosity and self-worth. By showing someone respect, and treating them with care and dignity it then commands respect in return. Honouring people who have given so much for their country really puts your life into perspective.”

The program’s charter is based on five key pillars – Caring, Respect, ANZAC, Support and Hope. In brief, the pillars are:

Power of Caring – visiting local hospitals to brighten the days of sick children, as well as visiting aged-care facilities with the same aim.

Power of Respect – volunteering our time to do gardening or maintenance in aged-care or community facilities.

Power of ANZAC – Being involved in the annual Gordonvale ANZAC Day ceremony, both during the formal march and in any other way of assisting with the events.

Power of Support – offering guidance and ground marshalling duties at the local Great Pyramid Race as well as any other key community events.

Power of Hope – fundraising and helping to grant children less fortunate in our community a special wish and bring a smile to their faces.

What appears to be a simple set of values and aims has already been put into service and the feedback from local communities across Cairns has been enormous. Many of the players at the club have arrived from a variety of challenging personal backgrounds, and the club has already been able to make substantial change to their lives.

According to Sharlie Mundraby, one of the club’s senior youth girls players, “Pyramid Power have helped me a lot to pull me out of my dark situations and they helped me find my happiness again. Being in this program just makes me want to give back and that’s exactly what I plan to do”.

Whilst the club is setting about enriching the lives of their own players and the local community from which they come, it isn’t lost of the club that this project has potential ramifications beyond their own community. Jim Floyd acknowledges that this project is aimed at the club’s own catchment, but similar programs could be applied to communities across the world as a means of community engagement and a rich experience for youth, or anyone else, within a club.

Like the previous Brother Clubs Project, the Pyramid Power Community Program is simply a means of bringing people together and seeing the positive changes that come from that. The club exists in a challenging environment – geographically, economically and socially – yet is still keen to attack those challenges head-on for the youth of today and tomorrow.

Picture: Club President Jim Floyd and players volunteering at recent Queensland state elections.


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