By Danielle Kutchel
The world game is opening doors for the next generation of youth leaders, thanks to a school holiday program at Casey Fields.
Melbourne City Football Club’s City in the Community division is hosting a Young Leader Program at the sporting centre, where young people can grow their leadership skills, confidence and capacity through soccer.
The four-day program, which runs from Tuesday 6 April to Friday 9 April, will cover social impact, community coaching, event management and more.
Around 45 young people between the ages of 16 and 23 are involved in the program, which they self-nominated for.
The learners are mostly drawn from the Casey and Greater Dandenong regions and come from many cultural backgrounds, but they share a passion for the beautiful game and a drive to become a leader.
At the opening of the program, Cranbourne MP Pauline Richards asked the up-and-comers to take up the responsibility to help others feel welcome in the community.
Brad Rowse, CEO of Melbourne City Football Club, congratulated attendees for stepping outside their comfort zone and taking part in the program.
He also spoke of the importance of soccer in creating community.
“Football is amazing because it’s truly global, it transcends nationalities,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from. It’s about participating, being together and using football as a tool to help with social inclusion, social issues and mental health.”
He urged attendees to think about how they can use the skills they will pick up in the program in their own communities.
“Have a think about how powerful football can be to help at grassroots societal issues,” he said.
It’s hoped the program will be run again in Dandenong and elsewhere in Victoria in future.