PORT ADELAIDE players and coaches will take to technology on Friday to carry out a different looking AFL Community Camp.
All players will connect virtually with students, club volunteers and junior football clubs across South Australia’s South East.
In its 19th year, the AFL Community Camp provides an opportunity for football fans and participants across Australia to access the game and its players close to home.
Last year, Port Adelaide players and staff visited areas on the Eyre Peninsula including Port Lincoln and Whyalla – a region close to the heart of the club’s joint major partner GFG.
This year, with the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, players are unable to visit regional areas in person and a unique virtual Community Camp is being held on Friday.
It is the first time since 2009 that the club has had its Community Camp in the Limestone Coast region.
“We’re normally out face to face in the region but today we’ll deliver the whole program through digital platforms and the whole playing squad will be using zoom, FaceTime and all sorts of platforms to engage with the community,” said Port Adelaide’s General Manager – Community, Jake Battifuoco.
“We got some good experience with this kind of thing last year where we couldn’t deliver a range of our programs in schools physically and did things virtually so it’s nothing new to the players.
“We’d obviously prefer to be out in the community and kicking the footy around with the kids but it’s a really good opportunity, especially for those more remote schools, for us to be able to connect with areas where we don’t get the chance to visit as often as we would like.”
Players will be beamed into school assemblies at 16 different schools via Zoom and coaching staff have also been involved, delivering virtual coaching workshops during the week.
“We have a role to play in terms of educating people of all ages about healthy lifestyles, respect, cultural awareness and trying to encourage kids to attend and finish school,” Mr Battifuoco explained.
“These are important messages to deliver and we feel as a club that we have a role to play in delivering those messages.
“The players really enjoy being part of this kind of thing and we are hoping during the year we might be able to get to the region physically in the middle of the year to deliver some of our programs if all goes well.”