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Hartlett, Jonas join APY Lands trip

APY Lands visit - PTV Hartlett, Jonas and Johnson join the WillPOWER team

PORT ADELAIDE defenders Hamish Hartlett and Tom Jonas were the club’s first non-Indigenous players to visit the AŠĻČangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands when they joined the Aboriginal Programs team a fortnight ago.

Hartlett and Jonas, along with Aidyn Johnson, took the opportunity to make the trip north to deliver the WillPOWER online safety module to the remote communities in the region.

Hartlett said he had been wanting to do a trip to the remote Indigenous communities for a number of years.

“Thankfully I have been given the opportunity to do it this week, and it just so happens to be the Ernabella Sports and Dance Carnival on Thursday as well,” Hartlett told portadelaidefc.com.au.

“Tommy and I are very thankful to be in the position we are in, and have the great group of people around us at the footy club.

“It has been a very special experience for us.”

The WillPOWER program encourages students to attend school, with the Ernabella Sports and Dance Carnival a reward for that commitment.

Port Adelaide’s Aboriginal Programs Coordinator, Wade Thompson said it was really rewarding for both the players and the kids in the communities.

“Having Hamish here as well, and also Aidyn - with the sports today and the dance tonight, it will be very special for them,” Thompson told portadelaidefc.com.au.

“Just seeing the smile on the kids’ faces. Tommy Jonas, the kids all over him. It’s real child engagement for the students. They really look up to him.

“It was really good for them to come out onto the land and actually see what we do as a club in the Aboriginal space.”

The online safety module has become essential in the APY Lands with the installation of a Telstra base station, which has provided internet to the remote communities for the first time.

“We want to make them aware of some of the dangers that can be presented with social media and make sure they are aware of how to deal with them,” Hartlett said.

“Obviously the education around this area probably isn’t quite at the level we experience down in Adelaide but all of the kids are happy to learn and just see some fresh faces.”

Port’s Youth Programs Coordinator, Cassie Pyman said that it was a thrill for everyone who is involved in the program.

“I think you create a bit of a picture in your head about what it’s going to be like up here but you don’t really know until you’re here,” Ms Pyman told portadelaidefc.com.au.

“The kids in the school, you can just see how much they love having the Power boys and the team come up here and spend the week with them.

“It’s a pretty special experience. They love being outside. They love doing the bookwork in the classroom.”

While the online module was an important aspect of the trip, making sure all of the young kids were engaged and having fun was also a priority.

Hartlett said he was extremely impressed by the quality of football the kids were playing, despite the obvious lack of resources.

“As soon as we get the footys out, that’s when they really come into their own.

“You can see how enthusiastic they are about sport.

“Particularly the boys with their footy and the girls with their softball and tee-ball.

“It’s pretty special just to have a bit of a kick of the footy with them, and just see how happy they are, even with having very little in these remote communities.

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