The KickStart Indigenous Program has been specifically designed to use football as a vehicle to promote awareness in participation, health, education and employment to Indigenous communities.
Indigenous Victorians have always had a close association to our great game, and this program encourages participation and the development of life skills.
The Program is a joint initiative between the AFL and AFL Victoria in association with the Victorian State Government. The Program links closely with local and state governments, Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies and local football organisations to deliver healthy and welcoming environment messages.
Through football activities, children are taught about the values of education and a healthy lifestyle, utilising AFL Indigenous players to deliver these messages either directly or via promotional material into the schools or communities.
The KickStart program provides further development opportunities for other parts of the football industry such as coaching and administration with local Indigenous people engaged in these leadership positions for the Victoria/Tasmania team.
In 2011, the first Kickstart National Championships were held at the Gold Coast putting state against state.
During the program the participants also meet role models such as Indigenous AFL players or local community leaders, and are also are part of cultural, identity and leadership sessions to further their personal development.
The process of regional trial days ensured the program was more accessible for participants and allowed players from rural and regional areas to have a higher chance of being selected.
Those identified as having talent and good character (50 players) were invited to attend a two day camp in March, which included high performance testing conducted by Draftstar and also a day of round robin trial games against the State Multicultural Squad.
This camp allowed AFL Victoria’s Indigenous Programs staff another chance to see the participants on the field and to gauge the character of the boys across the two day camp, before settling on a group to attend the state camp.
The camp, held at Brambuk – the National Park and Cultural Centre – was a great opportunity for all boys involved to improve their football ability, while at the same time learning more about their culture.
Is also allows the players to bond as a team before going off to play in the U/15 Kickstart National Championships.
The players came together as a group through learning of their culture together and had a better understanding of how each other played after the completion of this camp.
The Victoria/Tasmania side then enjoyed its best performance at the National Carnival since the tournaments inception, remaining undefeated in the preliminary rounds and winning through to the Grand Final. Although the team was unable to capture the title, the performance was considered a significant improvement on previous years.