Swans In Hedland – REACHing Out To The Community

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 2:53 PM by Matt Ogg

The Swan Districts Football Club has joined forces with its major sponsor BHP to set up a new program to help young people in West Australia’s north.

Run out of Hedland Senior High School the REACH program is already having a significant impact on the lives of young people in the community.

REACH stands for:

Resilience – building resilience in our young women,

Empower – empowering young females to have a voice

Accountability – ensuring you do the things you say you’ll do,

Connection – building a strong connection to your community, and

Health – living a positive, healthy lifestyle.

Led by Cate Brewin and her team, this program has been set up to engage and walk alongside the young female students in Hedland before, during and after school. The long-term focus of the program is to see young people connect with and positively contribute to the Hedland community.

A variety of weekly engagement activities, as well as excursions and camps are an important aspect of the program, where young people develop their skills in leadership, self-confidence, relationship building, and positive community connections.

Through this program the young people have created what is known as the REACH Leadership Group, where select students from years 10, 11 and 12 have additional opportunities to nurture and develop their leadership skills, while being supported by their mentors. To be engaged in this group, students must show good attendance at school, demonstrate positive behaviour and be a role model to their peers.

The new REACH program is an addition to the club’s long running and very successful V Swans Kicking Goals and Shooting Goals programs. These programs provide mentoring, sport education and high school leadership initiatives for young people years 7-12. The primary objective of the programs are to maintain student engagement to drive academic performance, improve school attendance and demonstrate positive behaviour.  Incentives have been set up for students in the program to promote positive engagement and behaviours. To be eligible for, and stay in the programs, students must meet firm measures at school including:

  • School attendance of 90% or above,
  • Minimal anti-social behaviour reports or suspensions, and
  • Being prepared for their classes.

Kicking Goals is a football-based program run by Rob Goodin, while Renae Tucker leads the Shooting Goals netball program. Students are not only taught the skills of the game but are educated on how to coach groups of people and umpire games. These newly acquired talents are then used to assist in the community’s Auskick football and Net Set Go netball programs, along with hosting other clinics. It is here that students learn the importance of positively engaging in their local community and developing their leadership skills.

These programs are part of the school’s Health and Physical Education curriculum and are timetabled four times a week. As students continue to meet the standards of each program, they become eligible to play in carnivals within the Pilbara, Perth, interstate and overseas. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, the Kicking Goals team had planned a trip to Melbourne, with the Shooting Goals side travelling to New Zealand.

Based on the student’s ability, participation in North West Region competitions and their positive engagement on court throughout the season, 27 young women in the Shooting Goals program were selected in the 2020 Port Hedland All-Star Development Program.

Along with camps and sports, Cate and her team understand that to effectively build positive relationships with these young people, a primary focus of the program is to create a positive and safe environments where the young people feel comfortable talking to staff about their lives at home, at school and in the community.

‘The school created a room that provides a safe and welcoming environment for the REACH girls. It’s available before and after school, as well as at recess and lunch times’ she said.

‘We have a kitchen where we are able to provide food, where necessary, and can provide transport for students to get to and from school.’

This positive engagement with the students has already seen the Swans staff help young girls feel safe at school, decrease bullying, attend class, minimise detentions and more.

What Cate and the team are doing in Hedland is nothing short of awesome.

Stay tuned to our website as we share more stories of what else Cate and the team are doing in the Hedland community, as well as other great stories from around our state.