Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 07:06 PM ACDT
Contributed by: Harley Vague
At times there has been much discusion as to how best to develop Australian Football overseas. There are many factors involved - cost, geography, personel, timeframe and benefit. There can be little argument that any succesful school programs will leverage immediate participants and possible long term players. The AFL has invested in such programs with good effect in specific regions - NSW, Qld, RSA and NZ. Some programs have been succesfully created with much less help as in London, Torronto and Vancouver. Now there is encouraging news out of Alberta Canada. In fact, it begs the question - should we doing more to help?. The following is from Calgary Kangaroos president Lachlan Griffiths
As the snow begins to fall and the 2014 local footy season is now but a memory, plans are being made to expand on the first successful year of a school based AFL program run this year by the Calgary Kangaroos. A brief window of mid April through early June is all they have to work with to be able to get students across the city kicking a footy outside after the snow melts and before the summer break arrives. But that window of time was enough this year to be able to get over 2,300 kids across 15 schools in Calgary introduced to Australia's national sport.
With the assistance of a grant from AFL Canada last year, the Kangaroos purchased footballs and printed AusKick instructor manuals that they then gave to schools, with a catch. The school must run a week of Aussie Rules to be eligible to receive the footy's and manuals. The Roo's then sent a volunteer coach to each school to help the teachers run their module - and the response from schools was overwhelming. The program was oversubscribed and the Roo's had to source additional footy's for schools wanting to run footy in their PE classes.