Next Gen in Yar­ra­wonga

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Classies -

A unique foot­ball pro­gram is now up and run­ning in Yar­ra­wonga with the Next Gen Minis pro­gram be­ing held at the Yar­ra­wonga Col­lege P-12 ECA cen­tre on Satur­day morn­ings from 9am-11am.

The Next Gen pro­gram is an AFL skills-based pro­gram for two to five-and-a-half-year old’s de­signed to de­velop their fine and gross mo­tor skills, so­cialise with friends, get ready to tran­si­tion into school or team sport and to get ac­tive.

The pro­gram has been cre­ated and en­dorsed by school teach­ers as well as AFL play­ers in­clud­ing Jake Melk­sham and Thomas Belcham­bers while be­ing fa­cil­i­tated by Next Gen Sports Academy.

This is the only AFL based pro­gram avail­able for this age group and Yar­ra­wonga pro­gram co­or­di­na­tors Danni and Joel Whin­ray said the feed­back they have re­ceived so far has been fan­tas­tic and they will con­tinue to run the pro­gram into the new year.

“We found out about it through Sophie Cachia, in­ter­net en­tre­pre­neur and wife of former Carl­ton foot­baller Jaryd Cachia and I just emailed the academy ask­ing if there was any chance they were bring­ing the pro­gram out to the coun­try,” Danni said.

“They were look­ing to ex­pand the pro­gram out­side of Mel­bourne and said if we were will­ing to jump on board and help out run­ning a pro­gram, it could come to Yar­ra­wonga al­most im­me­di­ately.

“Our son Char­lie just loves footy and it was a way for him to be in­volved at a young age and at the same time learn skills out­side of footy as well.”

Yar­ra­wonga is just the sec­ond area to take on the pro­gram af­ter they and Essendon ran eightweek pi­lot pro­grams which were well re­ceived be­fore they be­gan their fully-fledged pro­gram on Oc­to­ber 20.

So far, the pro­gram has proved suc­cess­ful in Yar­ra­wonga with 40 kids par­tic­i­pat­ing at the mo­ment and both chil­dren and par­ents alike re­ally en­joy­ing the dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It has just been a unique op­por­tu­nity and we are lucky to have this in a small town,” Danni said.

“As well as learn­ing Aussie Rules foot­ball skills the pro­gram is a lead in to pri­mary school as it helps with con­fi­dence and so­cial skills and also leads them into tran­si­tion­ing to Aus­kick.

“Aus­kick is for kids six years and older so this pro­gram pro­vides chil­dren from the ages of two – five and a ½ to be able to have an in­volve­ment in footy and learn dif­fer­ent skills across dif­fer­ing as­pects of their lives.

“It’s a real pos­i­tive and to see even two-year old’s stop and lis­ten to what is be­ing asked of them and pro­gress­ing their skills each week is fan­tas­tic.

“The pro­gram has now ex­panded to Al­bury and a few other spots in Mel­bourne and the academy hope to get even more pro­grams across the re­gional ar­eas through­out the school terms in 2019.

“We are go­ing to hold an open ses­sion on De­cem­ber 15 on the fore­shore for any­one to come down, have a kick and see what the pro­gram is about but if peo­ple would like to find out more we have a few Face­book pages, visit Next Gen Minis Yar­ra­wonga and check out what the pro­gram is about.”

The Next Gen Minis pro­gram for two to five and a half year old’s is prov­ing a hit in Yar­ra­wonga.

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