Bulldogs leadership program changing young lives

Article image - Bulldogs leadership program changing young lives Western Bulldogs Leadership Project graduates with program facilitator Kyle Byers (far right) and youth program manager Salim Mohamed (far left).

In partnership with the Western Bulldogs Leadership Project, Glenelg Shire Council, Victoria, has welcomed 18 new graduates to the ‘life-changing’ youth leadership program.

The group is the region’s sixth graduating class from the program, which is administered by the Western Bulldogs Football Club Community Foundation with support from the Glenelg Shire Council.

The six-month program supports young people to explore projects that aim to create change and have a positive influence in the community.

This year participants tackled issues such as cyber and schoolyard bullying, body image and obesity, environmental crisis and beach pollution, gambling, condom inaccessibility and equality in sports participation.

Graduate Lilly Perkins, whose project focused on the impact of cyber and schoolyard bullying, said the experience had been ‘life changing’.

“My time in Western Bulldogs is one that I will never forget,” she said.

“Throughout the camps and the excursions, I have created memories which I will cherish forever. I am very grateful that I had this opportunity.”

As part of her project, Lilly singlehandedly organised a community trivia and auction night, raising more than $2,600 for the Dolly’s Dream charity, including many donations from local and further afield businesses.

“I was extremely surprised by the support of the community and businesses, both local and Australia wide, for the trivia and auction night. The amount of people that came and supported on the night was amazing and it was great to see how many people starting to talk to others about their experiences,” she said.

“I hope that more programs and resources will be offered in schools to prevent or support kids who have been bullied or are experiencing bullying.”

Glenelg Shire Council Mayor Anita Rank said this year’s cohort included young people from across the shire hailing from Narrawong, Portland, Heywood, Bolwarra, Milltown and Casterton.

“Our aim was to ensure that we had a diverse and inclusive group that represents all communities from across the shire,” she said.

“On behalf of Council, I am incredibly proud of what this group has achieved in such a short amount of time. Throughout the six-month mentorship program participants have received hands-on opportunities to learn from respected industry leaders and build their capacities in teamwork, resilience, goal setting and community engagement.

“I encourage every graduate to continue engaging with our local community, as we look to them as the next generation of local leaders.”