Young people from our Step Up Latrobe Valley Alumni program were excited to attend a day out at GMHBA Stadium, the home of the Geelong Cats.

In the morning, the young people were greeted by Player Development Manager Mark Worthington and they went straight into the stands to watch the players train and prepare for their important Round 23 game this weekend.

Following the training session, the young people were so excited to be given the opportunity to run onto the field and have a go at kicking goals and a kick-to-kick with some of the players.

The young people were invited to join the players and staff for a shared lunch shortly after and it was great to see some of the young people take up the challenge, go out of their comfort zone and sit next to a player to strike up some conversation.

The afternoon was spent having a VIP tour of the facility where the young people were shown the player’s locker rooms, gym, pool and staff areas. Throughout the tour, the group were warmly greeted by Geelong players including Gary Rohan, Isaac Smith, Tom Hawkins and Tom Stewart. They were so appreciative that they took the time to stop and have a chat with them and share their stories and strategies on how to deal with challenges, both on and off the field.

The group sat in the Players’ room and listened to Shannon Neale talk about his football journey and what it meant for him to get that call at 18 years old and to leave his family in WA to join the Geelong Cats. Shannon spoke about goal setting, strategies to stay connected and how to deal with things when they don’t go your way. The young people asked many questions of Shannon and were encouraged to apply these skills when pursuing their own education and employment pathways.

“I couldn’t believe that the footballers took the time to speak with me and it was nice to see they are just normal people like us and sometimes have struggles.” – Alumni program member

We sincerely thank the Geelong Football Club for hosting an inspiring and once in a lifetime experience for our Ladder young people and for continuing to provide support and mentorship.

“It was a great opportunity for me to get outside my comfort zone and it was great that Ladder and the Geelong Football Club helped to support me in this.” – Alumni program member 

Click the below image to watch a video from the day.