Last week Melbourne AFLW players Tahlia Gillard, Maeve Chaplin and Georgia Campbell joined our Step Up Latrobe Valley program participants on a day trip to Tarra Bulga National Park.

The players joined the young people in a walk to the waterfall and participated in some teamwork and communication activities organised by the Development Coaches.

The young people benefited hearing from the players as they shared their experiences about being professional AFLW players and the pathway leading them into their career. It was great to see the young people engage with the players and ask lots of questions. Just having the players hang out with them made the young people so appreciative.

Melbourne AFLW player Tahlia Gillard reflected on her experience of the day: 

We went to the Tarra Bulga National Park where we walked up to a nearby waterfall.

Afterwards we played a survival scenario game, in which we had to vote one of the five characters out. This game provided a bit of humour, and the ability for the young people to freely express themselves in pleading their case. It allowed all of us to feel more comfortable and helped the young people gain the confidence to speak up and ask questions. 

Personally what I enjoyed most was my one-on-one chat with Skyler. It was easy to get to know her and we had a lot to talk about.

The key thing I took from the experience was how much impact you can have on people by just showing up and putting in effort. The day allowed me to be myself and reinforced to me that anyone can make a difference. 

My piece of advice would be to keep showing up and putting in the work.  It might take a long time, but the rewards do come.

It’s so important and beneficial to have AFLW and AFL players involved in the program as younger people often look up to them, and respect them giving their time and knowledge. This hopefully provides the kids with a sense of value and belief in themselves.

We thank Tahlia, Maeve and Georgia for coming along for the day and engaging with our young people.